Luduke churchDuring the National holiday, I took the chance of my friend Cai, who would like to drive out to looking for the French church near Mengzi, which I couldn’t reached few week ago from Ah-she because of no transportation. But the weather suddenly turned sour just the day before we started our journey, still we went out with high spirit. For the last few months, Cai was so eager to went out to minority area, seem like he had caught a spell or what? Or perhaps just wanted to drive with his new license.
First we went to visited Lengquan market one rainy morning, although a small market but with good atmosphere,it could be more interesting on a better day, as the market mostly offer foods on every corner. there we only seen Miao and the simple dress Yi like those in Yuguopu market, not that interest in minority scene.
Then we headed for the church, it was located between Menzi and Yanshan county, followed my map we drove through Mingjiu into the country road, the drizzle rain made the road rather slippery, and with million of potholes, we bumping through the dirt path surrounded by rolling of hilltops. By luck Luduke villagewe picked up a local he was walking to Luduke where the church was located. So we pumped him for information while giving him a lift. He is Yi and told us the best event for them is Torch Festival(not surprised) while people sing and dance in the village, but nowadays almost no one would wear costumes, well…a bit disappointed, they were the same tribe like those in Beige and Mengzi, the “Orange” one! But here they claimed the unique tower shape headdress couldn’t be find in other village, later we lured them to showed us, actually only one woman still got that kind of headdress as now they all wore the short one like anywhere else. So…it was like a cylinder about a foot tall, clad fully with silver buttons, bunch of hair and thread extended from the bottom of the cylinder, up round through the top front where a beak shape had been created, that tied and mounted security on head. Finally an heavily band full of brightly red feather bulbs laid on top of the silver cylinder. it was beautiful!
Anyway…with our new found friend, we easily located the family who had the key to the church Luduke villageaffer we arrived in Luduke. The village is mixed inhabited with Yi and Miao, and the church keeper is a Miao family, the husband actually is the priest but he was out work in the field so we couldn’t meet him, his wife show us to the church, the 70 something year old small woman still walk with grace told us she remembered the western man who came to preached them long time ago, “he always shared his food with us after service…” and the French man choose to buried here after his death, the woman pointed to the hillside opposite the church. The church had been built at 1908, a front gate with a head stone slate engraved “Luduke Catholic Church” in Chinese. Once entered is a nicely courtyard, with the church main hall on the left, and the front and right quarter being the living area for the priests, but now were mostly deserted. The whole church were top with Chinese roof tiles. There also a bell tower stood on the left corner of the building, but the bell had been destroyed during culture revolution as in everywhere else during that period in China. The Miao woman told the courtyardus there is about 30 believers in this area, “they came sometimes on Sunday” she said, added that Christmas would attracted more people and priests would came from Kunming or Mengzi help provided the service.
The sky still dark and raining, otherwise we would like to go futher to Dezheen for the krast scene where the locals said was beautiful, perhaps some other time. On the way back Cai wondered why and how come French people would came to a remote place like this and build a church? Yeah…I wondered too! And what about those up in the north around Nujiang and Dulongjiang area? Those were more remote! Right…perhaps by preaching in those primitive and remote area, one could more easy turned a believer??? perhaps….

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