This man took 36 years to dig a canal to bring water to his village -
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This man took 36 years to dig a canal to bring water to his village


Chinese people love to use proverbs and idiomatic expressions when they tell stories about something and among the many that they have, one of the best known is definitely:"The Old Fool Who Moved the Mountains".

This expression is used to indicate all those people who have managed to achieve an apparently impossible goal thanks to self-confidence and considerable willpower.

In this story about Mr. Huang Dafa, this expression finds the perfect application! This man spent thirty-six years of his life working on a water canal that could bring water to his village.

Huang Dafa is the village leader of Cao Wang Ba, a small town located in the Guizhou Province.

image: China Daily

The secluded and isolated village location had always been exposed to several periods of drought that had negatively affected the lives of its inhabitants, at least until 1995. The story goes, that one year, in 1959, the water scarcity threatened the rice paddy field from which their survival depended; it became necessary to think of a serious solution. 

Consequently, it was in 1959, that Mr. Huang decided to dig a water canal in the mountain wall to bring water to a nearby location.

The water canal would have brought water from the village of Ye Biao to Cao Wang Ba crossing three mountains.

image: Xin Hua News

When Mr. Huang presented his project, everyone said that it was something that could not be done! However, Huang, who at the time was only 23 years old, managed to persuade some men and they began to work, exposing themselves to enormous risks and challenging tasks. He was the first to tie himself with a rope to a tree to move from one place to the other suspended at 984 ft (300 m) above the ground! "If I had not done that, no one would have found the courage to follow me."


Hard work and acquiring the proper knowledge.

image: VCG

After ten years of digging with whatever they could find and having completed only 328 ft (100 m) of the canal, it became clear that although their determination was great, their technical knowledge in regards to irrigation canals was practically nil. For this reason, Huang decided to stop working and to start studying engineering in the town of Fengxiangzhen.

A new and successful plan.

image: Xin Hua News

In the early 1990s, Huang returned to his native village and resumed work on the canal by directing a team of workers. In 1995, the completed project consisted of a 4.4-mile long canal (7,200 meters) with a ramification length of 1.3 miles (2,200 meters).

The Dafa water canal, which bears his name, now brings water not only to the village of Cao Wang Ba but also to three other villages in the area. In total, the people benefiting from this construction are about 1200 and the annual production of rice has gone from 55,000 lb (25,000 kg) to 881,490 lb (400,000 kg). After completing the irrigation channel, Huang Dafa also coordinated the work that has allowed his village to have electricity and a new road.

Although Huang is now an elderly man, he still goes to make inspections at his water canal to make sure everything is working well.


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