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Villagers tunnel through mountain

Villagers in China spent five years hammering out a tunnel through a
neighbouring mountain with primitive tools.

Residents of Matigou village took on the gargantuan task to build a quick,
safe route to nearby Shiyan city.

For generations, the only way to access the city from the village was on
foot via a dangerously narrow cliff path.

Each year, several villagers died after falling off the cliff because of the
bumpy and narrow road.

"We had to dig out a tunnel for the village's survival," said Matigou village
head Wen Changfa.

"The direct distance was only five miles, but it used to take at least half a
day for villagers to reach the city in order to sell field produce and buy

Wen said most of the time he and other villagers would hammer at the
mountain with the most primitive tools.

"From time to time, when we had some money, we would buy a small
amount of explosives to help us to proceed. The tunnel construction went
ahead very slowly. Each day we could dig less than one metre forward."

Although the tunnel is only 6ft by 6ft, villagers are happy that reaching
the city now takes them only half-an-hour and is much safer.

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