AUSTRALIAN WOMAN'S GREAT WALL ODYSSEY 刘海银川报道。 INTRO Sylvia Berjas-Morales has spent six years in China to realize her dream, walking along China's Great Wall. The French Australian, now 69, began her journey in 2008, the
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) SYLVIA BERJAS-MORALES: "I found a lot of villages. Actually some places are quite beautiful at some prime position for the Great Wall. But these places are so undeveloped. They have no garbage collection. They have no toilet. There is no toilet at all, so the villagers just go out. So I think I would like to do something for these villages, and I try to bring some business for them by bringing tourism in these places. It's going to a big job, but I' m quite preparing for the challenge."
China Report has the details.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) SYLVIA BERJAS-MORALES: "This man had Alzheimer's and he had been to China. One day he was very depressed. He was very upset because he realized he was going to lose his memory, and he was very upset about that. I tried to find many ways to stop him from crying, and I was not succeeding."
When she saw the first section of the Great Wall, she was completely shocked.
Berjas-Morales calls her journey along China's Great Wall "a great walk... in heaven and a little hell".
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) SYLVIA BERJAS-MORALES: "It was amazing. Actually it was the first great wall I saw. It was Han Wall in the very west near Yumenguan. There is a long stretch of Han Wall there. I've seen that in pictures, but to see it really, it was totally different." XDating back to around 200 B.C. when the first emperor of Qin had fortifications built to stop invasions by northern tribes, the Great Wall has been rebuilt many times. As most of the wall sections were built in remote areas, walking alone is anything but safe.
In walking the Great Wall, she is raising funds for a cancer charity.
Berjas-Morales said she is always touched by the villagers' kindness and hospitality.
Sylvia Berjas-Morales has spent six years in China to realize her dream, walking along China's Great Wall.
She visited local people's houses along the Wall, making friends with them. Though she couldn't speak Chinese, and sometimes the farmers were even afraid of seeing a foreigner, smiling is the language for communication.
The French Australian, now 69, began her journey in 2008, the year of Beijing Olympics.
Berjas-Morales plans to finish the trip next November by walking around the Bird's Nest, the main venue of the Beijing Olympic Games, as a symbol of the Olympic spirit on her 70th birthday.
Berjas-Morales started thinking about something big and important. Then, she camp up with the Great Wall. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) SYLVIA BERJAS-MORALES: "I said to him, Max, if you stop crying, I will walk the Great Wall of China. He then looked at me and he said, oh, you will do that for me? And I said, yes, why not? We began talking about China, the Great Wall, and all sort of things about China. While the trick brought results, I was than facing a huge promise to fulfill."
She has written poems on what she saw and how she felt along the journey, and plans a book.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) SYLVIA BERJAS-MORALES: "Once in Anxi, just before I arrived in Anxi, I stopped in the desert. And I had my tent. Somebody was telling me earlier there are wolves in the area. I said, oh, don't worry about the wolves. Anyway, the next day I got up, all around my tent were footprints of the wolf that had been walking around it. So I was actually lucky that I didn't come face to face with them. But I found no danger really. It's a very safe country, and I hope more people will come and see it. "
The idea of walking along the Great Wall came to Berjas-Morales in 1999, when she was a nurse caring for an Alzheimer's patient in Australia.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) SYLVIA BERJAS-MORALES: "I really feel hundred percent comfortable. I feel like it was my home too. I camp there. I stay with farmers, I sleep with the local people when I was in villages, and everywhere was welcome. Everywhere people were extremely kind. And I'm so grateful."
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) SYLVIA BERJAS-MORALES: "So every hundred kilometers, I tried to light a candle, sometimes I forgot, so I lit two or three at the same time. Next year, I want to do that again, actually for the spirit of the people that died there, building it. And I think it was such an achievement, it deserves a little bit of respect."
Now she has travelled over three thousand kilometers along the Great Wall from its west to the east.
Finally, she left for China in 2007.
The journey started at Yumenguan, northwestern Gansu Province, where the Wall dates from the Han Dynasty, around 206 B.C.to 220 A.D..
Berjas-Morales recorded lives of people living by the Wall and uploaded the photos into her blog. In her eyes, these small villages are more attractive than metropolises.
Berjas-Morales walks alone, but she never feels lonely.
On her journey, she carried little candles with her and lit one every hundred kilometers to acknowledge the people who built the wall.
Berjas-Morales had kept the promise in mind, but it didn't come true easily. In 2003, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It took much of her energy and savings to fight the disease.
AUSTRALIAN WOMAN'S GREAT WALL ODYSSEY