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Guos Childhood

Guo Deping grew up during the period of the Cultural Revolution in China. He describes the starvation his family faced, also the deep love he has for his childhood home - which was in a cave. At that time, and for centuries people in Henan province have lived in caves, which left all the land available for growing food. These cave houses were perfectly insulated, warm in winter and cool in summer, and some of them were even luxurious, with grand facades built on the front. A few people still live in caves, though nowadays even the most elegant of cave dwellings are being superseded by grey concrete blocks of flats. Food has always been the main focus in China - though now, as Guo says, things are getting better. But his heart aches for his parents who suffered so much during the Cultural Revolution, working day and night in the fields, forbidden to cook at home when the communal restaurants didn't provide enough food to survive on, so his father had to steal sweet potatoes from the fields and cook them in the forest at dead of night to feed his starving children. Their generation was 'so unlucky' - when they were young there was no food, and now there is enough food they have no teeth to eat with!
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