Pyongyang show vs. rural life struggle

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While North Korea prepares a big show to mark the 70th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party, the daily struggles of life outside the capital –such as finding clean running water and putting nutritious food on the table year-round– pose a harsh, but largely unseen, contrast to the grand celebrations the world will see Oct. 10.

To make sure Pyongyang looks its best, extensive construction projects have considerably prettied up the capital, which is far and away the most developed city in North Korea and is even relatively comfortable for the increasingly affluent segment of its populace.

North Korean farmer tills the soil by hand

But life in the provinces, and particularly in rural areas, is quite a different story. Instead of the new high-rise apartments and bicycle lanes that have been put up in Pyongyang for the party anniversary, the people in the communities of Sinyang County, which is just 150 kilometers (100 miles) from Pyongyang (takes three hours to reach by car on mostly unpaved roads), are just now just beginning to enjoy a far more fundamental improvement in their lives …”disease-free” running water.

North Korean women cart supplies by bicycle

Elsewhere, an old woman sits outside her home scraping corn off recently harvested cobs. The dry corn will be ground into flour to make food. In the North Korean countryside, this is a common sight. Everything must be done by hand, from the fields to the home.

A farmer on ox wagon between Pyongyang and the DMZ


This entry was posted in , by Grant Montgomery.

One thought on “Pyongyang show vs. rural life struggle

  1. As from the pictures I have seen of buildings and population mostly soldiers, it seems like the country was once on a correct economic path but now deteriorating at alarming rate and poverty is spreading fast due to poor leadership style. It is like the people have to physically work hard and manually to put food on the table. From the look of thins it seems like the soldiers are poorly paid and are supposed to follow order irrespective of the intention. This country need help urgently else it will be like some poorest countries in the world very soon

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