Text and photographs by Tian Fei
With her one-year-old son Li Zixiu in her arms, Xiang Ying ducks out of the scorching early summer sun at a flower terrace near a vegetable market in Wuhan’s Hankou District, Hubei Province. Her light blue truck with an Anhui plate sits nearby, packed with daily necessities such as cooking utensils, stoves, and gas jars. Atop the truck, an unpleasantly striking sign reads”Professional Building Leakage Repair.” The vehicle serves Xiang not only to make a living, but also as her home.
While chatting with an elderly man also enjoying the cool shade, Xiang grows worried-for eight days straight, her husband hasn’t found any work. At 5:00 p.m., another truck with the same sign arrives, driven by her husband. He brings news: First, he still can’t find any customers. Second, more relatives are arriving in town with two more trucks, ready to join their team. An hour later, the couple leads their new teammates to a downtown overpass they use as a campsite.
When they arrive, nine trucks are already waiting under the overpass, all with the”Professional Building Leakage Repair” sign. With the newcomers, their fleet totals 13 ......