Work in Mainland China
Manuo’s Worry - Hope Reignited by Bio-gas Project

In the mountainous areas of Longchuan County in Yunnan Province, peasant families are scattered around the valleys, living in simple bamboo cottages. They are busy making a living every day due to lack of resources. Manuo lost his mother when he was small. He has been living in the village with his father for all these years. Sugar cane farming is their source of income. As Manuo’s father is getting old, Manuo did not want to work in the city and leave his father alone in the village. With a poor family, the 30-year-old Manuo could not get married. He simply drowned his sorrows in drink in the face of adversity. However, after The Salvation Army funded the construction of bio-gas digesters, pigsties and toilets, Manuo began to see hope and work harder for a better living and a brighter future.

At his home composed of two simple bamboo cottages, sitting on a hill, Manuo was alone watching an old TV. The slightly dimmed room was furnished with a few pieces of necessary furniture. Outside the house laid a few empty beer bottles. It was such a miserable scene.

Too Poor to Get Married
Manuo and his father made a living on the four-acre sugar cane farm with an annual income of about RMB 3,000, they lived on a tight budget. Manuo sighed, saying, “I only have my old man in the family. He’s old and in poor health. (I) don’t want to go out for work. I just want to keep this family.” When asked about getting married, Manuo lowered his head and said in a forced smile, “I would love to, but we are poor. People (Girls) are not willing to come. (I’m) afraid it’ll go on like this.”

Later, The Salvation Army launched a “bio-gas digesters, pigsties and toilets ‘3-in-1’” project in Longchuan County, giving funds to villagers for the construction of these facilities with an aim to conserve energy and develop family economy. Manuo was invited to take part in this project. A biogas digester, pigsty and toilet were built in his home. When the construction was completed, The Salvation Army sent someone to teach Manuo how to use the bio-gas facility.

A year later, The Salvation Army visited Manuo again. We could see some encouraging changes. The newly built pigsty and toilet are now the prettiest constructions in his house. Five piglets are kept in the pigsty. The toilet is clean and tidy. Keeping pigs generate more income for Manuo’s family. The pig excrement produces bio-gas that can be used as a cooking fuel. The toilet has improved the hygiene at home and at the same time offers another source of bio-gas. It is cheap and environmentally friendly. There is no need for Manuo to buy wood fuel anymore.

Bio-gas Digester Brings Hope
At home, Manuo kept smiling and could not hide his joy. When we praised him for keeping his pigsty in good order, Manuo said bashfully, “My wife cleans it up.” After Manuo built a pigsty and toilet, his home looked more decent. He was introduced to a woman who later became his wife. After getting married, Manuo cut down on alcohol. His life has changed a lot and he is confident about the future. He plans to keep a few more piglets and continues to better his life.

Manuo’s wife is very happy about the bio-gas digester. She said, “Bio-gas is good. It’s readily available and convenient. If we put the rice in the bio-gas rice cooker before going to work in the field, the rice is ready by the time we go home. Also, we stop burning wood after having biogas. The wood we bought last year is still piling here. We saved lots of money on buying wood.”

At this point, Manuo’s father sitting aside couldn’t help but said delightedly, “In the past, whenever I looked at my son, I was saddened. But ever since we have the bio-gas digester, pigsty and toilet, our living conditions have improved. After my son got married, he no longer wears a sad face.”

Bio-gas Digesters, Pigsties and Toilets “3-in-1” Project
The construction of bio-gas digesters, pigsties and toilets altogether is known as a “3-in-1 project”. Swine waste provides fuel to bio-gas digesters. Toilets help improve sanitation and at the same time guarantees production of bio-gas. This project can provide home fuel to peasants, increase family income and protect the environment, but building a bio-gas digester and raising three to five pigs are not something easy for a peasant household. Hence, The Salvation Army provides funding to the peasants in poverty, helping them improve their lives.

Manuo and his father
A simple bamboo cottage.
Using bio-gas to cook rice ...
Using bio-gas to cook rice ...
Using bio-gas to cook rice ...
Using bio-gas to cook rice ...
Using bio-gas to cook rice ...
Manuo and his wife are conf...
The bio-gas digester has gr...