Villagers relish life in new houses

At the end of a hot summer day, Ruzamamet Matkerim, a villager in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, likes to turn on the shower and wash away a day's fatigue with hot water before going to bed.

Matkerim's new house of more than 100 square meters in Inilik village in southern Xinjiang's Hotan prefecture is equipped with modern electric appliances such as a TV, washing machine and gas stove. His elderly mother has gotten used to storing food items such as mutton, eggs and carrots in the refrigerator to keep them fresh.

However, things were quite different a decade ago when a local household could only afford a mud hut or a house made of tamarisk and earth with humble furniture.

These commodities of everyday convenience, which seem commonplace in developed areas, were luxurious and beyond imagination for Matkerim's family.

With the onset of Xinjiang's relocation program that began in 2011 and the country's efforts to alleviate poverty, the villages in southern Xinjiang have gone through dramatic changes.

Like Matkerim's family, more and more local villagers are enjoying a modern life with new houses, furniture and electric appliances.

As the local government adopts more measures to help the villagers cast off poverty, new items appear in the households.

Several pieces of paper are pasted on the wall of Matkerim's house, recording his poverty reduction goals and the contact information of poverty-relief cadres, who pair up with the family and visit them regularly.

A bag with records of information about the family members, contracted land, livestock and income is also hanging on the wall.

"My bag knows how much money my family has. It does better than me," Matkerim said with a smile.

Local resident Awahan Mamettimin dedicated a wall to display special photos of his family and poverty-relief officials, to show the great changes in their life.

Over the years, new homes, asphalt roads reaching the doors and free education for children have heralded a new life for Mamettimin and other villagers.

"Now, I know how a happy life is created, and I am grateful to the government," Mamettimin said.