China Team Journal

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Team160-Anshang Village, Apr. 17-25

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thought for the day: A change in the surroundings is good for the soul.

Breakfast at 7:30 and off to school to work with a new group of students. The volunteers used a combination of new and reworked lessons to good effect until the word was passed to assemble in front of the school to greet the officials of the translation college (Fenji).

President Ding Zu Yi, Dean of the translation college, Mr. Yin Yang Gin, and other officials arrived and, with the help of Mr. An Wei gave the students some insight into the value of working hard, the importance of taking full advantage of the volunteers, and gaining a full appreciation of village life.

In the afternoon, the entire speech festival was help with all participants giving excellent presentations of well prepared material.

Following the festival, we walked to the bronze foundry and toured the operation. We watched the wax molds being made through to the polishing of the final pieces. The village economy was significantly strengthened by the volunteers’ purchases of the bronze figures. As dinner was at 6:30, a fast walk home improved the appetites of all.

- Donald McDonald

(Photograph: the workshop of the Bronzeware Reproduction factory)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Thought for the day: “Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.”—anonymous

Second day meeting the students from other classes today. All the teams spent some time on introductions--which the students don’t seem to mind doing over and over. Randy and Marietta got Class 1 singing, and during a shopping spree exercise some students inadvertently bought a lot of Metamucil and stool softener from a drugstore—much hilarity after explanations. Marilyn entertained students with pictures from her daughter’s Jewish wedding. and Team A’s air scrabble reached new heights with today’s students managing 265 words before we had to cut them off at lunchtime. How much further can it go? Everyone is very competitive! The free talk in all classes was termed “awesome,” as all the students have different questions for the teachers. We all have so much to learn from each other, and the idea of switching classes seems to be a success.

On a personal level, I find, rather to my surprise, how much I miss the students from Class I, and although I am enjoying meeting the other classes, I will be very happy to see “mine” again next week. In the meantime hopefully we will have plenty of time to chat with all the kids through the weekend. It’s quite amazing what strong bonds we have created in such a short time.

In the afternoon, “Cinderella and the ugly stepsisters” was performed ably by Jon and Marilyn, followed by their students acting out weddings. There was rip roaring singing and dancing from Randy and Marietta’s group. All the classes seemed a little short of students; there must be something about Friday afternoons. However, there was a tremendous demonstration of Chinese jump-rope in front of the school. Across town, Donald learned how to make brooms from a neighbor.

After supper came the much-awaited showing of Seinfeld in the auditorium. Marietta explained some of the more idiomatic terms to the students while a cluster of volunteers and Blackie tried one computer after another. Apparently there are more cultural differences than we had figured! Finally three was a charm and the show was on. Enjoyed much by the volunteers, with a mixed reception by the students. Maybe next time we should try English subtitles.

A very gloomy and drizzly day today, and everyone is a little anxious as there are several trips planned for Saturday.

-Ginnie Dunlop

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Thought for the day: Nothing happens until something moves.
Albert Einstein.

Saturday dawned cold and rainy. The streets were quiet except for the women who were pushing a heavily loaded cart into the house next Mr. An’s. As most people were going to FuFeng or Da ming, and the students were off to Famen Temple, we expected a quiet day in An Shang.
Breakfast was the usual good food. Our discussion of the closing ceremony centered around the meeting on Sunday after supper to sign the scrolls. We also talked about the songs we will sing –- a Chinasized version of Edelweiss, and “So Long It’s Been Good To Know You.”

If I got this right, Randy, Marietta, Steve, Ginnie and Nancy left for Fufeng and the glories of shopping and eating at Lily’s Sun and Moon Café at 8:45. Their interpreter and travel agent, Stephanie was accompanied my Michelle to handle the translation and local information chores. Lily, famous chef and owner of the Sun and Moon Café, guided Randy to buy a USB drive and others to the nearest restroom that required exact change. She fed them all a hot pot that was cooked with electricity. According to Stephanie, the later is now cheaper than propane.

It’s not clear just when Steve found a massage, (50 Yuan) but he swears the beauty of the 23 year old masseuse had nothing to do with his choice of locations. The rest of the group checked on him frequently to make sure that no liberties were undertaken. Although Steve claims credit for getting Bao Li’s apples, it was actually Randy and Nancy who chose them while he was otherwise engaged.

Nancy found the Fufeng High School, where the local students attend. She was interested in seeing and photographing the building. At first she had to charm the guard into allowing her in. It must have worked as he and a friend escorted her around.

While all of this was going on in the metropolis, Nan and Marta were escorted by students Katherine and Cherry. They were driven to the Catholic Church in Wujin that many of us had seen in the distance. The driver roused a person who was happy to give them an informative tour of the church.. They earlier toured Daming Buddhist Temple, which impressed them as much as other Volunteers who had been there previously. They all needed help in Kow Towing, which the monks were happy to instruct them. They demonstrated the technique at supper and we were suitably impressed. Finally, they visited an upscale neighborhood in Fufeng that turned out to be a resort and conference center. It was perfectly maintained and had an arboretum-like character.

While all this frivolity was occurring, Don worked several hours with Garth, expanding Garth’s understanding of some complexities of English word’s definitions and the context in which they are used.

Marilyn and Jon trudged though the sticky mud to the Taoist Temple south of An Shang. We were greeted by a man who helped us clean our shoes of the several pounds of mud we had accumulated. Marilyn’s shoes had raised her stature by several inches, so she took them off and walked around the courtyard and cave temples in her bare feet. The woman who lives there was happy to model for our photos and insisted that Marilyn wear her slippers. She took us into the cave in which they live and pressed tangerines on us. There was such strong feeling between her and Marilyn that she gave Marilyn a beautiful small jade pendant to wear next to her heart. We left with tears for the closeness of the communication.

-Jon Dungan

(Photograph: the Catholic Church in Wujin town)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Quote of the day:
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints in the sands of time
Henry Longfellow

Today is another exciting day in An Shang. Every day is a new adventure for our team. This AM at Brother #2’s house, an elderly lady, who walks around in our village, fell. Marta saw bruises on her face and got some help for her. You become so attached to our villagers that their pain becomes your pain. She is doing better now.

At 10 AM, Marta held a class at Brother # 2’s house, where she could talk with the students about animals. She has exciting stories about animals, especially one hound dog called Lucky. It happens to be bilingual. It could learn Mandarin easily (Ha Ha).

Sheila, one of our students in Marta and my class, decided to work with the villagers who are constructing a new home. The villagers were very impressed with Sheila. She would carry four bricks at a time and then stack them so the bricklayers could reach them easily. My job was mixing concrete and mortar and keeping the mortar buckets full.

Randy and Marietta went on a walk to one of the temples near the village. Once again after pictures were taken, Randy was pushed aside and Marietta reigned as queen.

Ginnie and Nancy went on their morning walk happily talking with the villagers. Don decided to visit his friends in the village and helped them to make brooms. This afternoon was filled with rest and relaxation.

Don, Nan, Marta, and Bao Li went to the bronze factory west of the village for an exciting afternoon of shopping. Jon, our photographer, once again had the opportunity to shoot photos of the bronze factory.

Jon and Marilyn held a class using the English edition of the Daily News in China. After that, they went on a walk where they discussed various topics that were interesting to the students. Marilyn came back and did laundry. I’ve decided on another business venture. I’ll open the Team 160 Laundromat. I’ll quote Don, Bronze and Brooms” He’s learning the trades quickly.

Have to check with Marta, who is still in An Shang village.

Randy walked with his students in the afternoon. Marietta and Nancy had computer detail. I’ll quote Don, Bronze and Brooms” He’s learning the trades quickly.

At 2:00 PM, our class had a party. It was a blast. The students had snacks and drinks. We played various games. One game we all enjoyed was balloon volleyball. Quite easy, as Ginnie would say. One balloon, two broomsticks or mops, and lots of fun and laughter.

Brother #5 came over after supper and presented the team with a few toasts of Baijiu. This drink has quite a punch. Then our meeting. In the Army a student learns quickly not to volunteer for anything. I disobeyed and it’s official. On Wednesday, I am to be honored with a class of 160 kindergarteners. They’ll even though in a free lunch. I do get to choose Sheila as my interpreter as the team is very busy that day. I’m trying to see if I can get the afternoon in Fu-Feng for a foot massage ( HA HA).

A final task was signing 100 scrolls for our students for the final celebration on Thursday night. Marta supplied the scrolls and the red ribbon. Don, our civil engineer, had the ribbons cut to length precisely Good job, Don.

What a wonderful day, with many more to follow.

-Steve Faiola

(Photographs: 1) Ginnie talking to the villagers on a walk; 2) Don leaning to make brooms from a villager)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thought for the day:
This product’s quality is very good, but if there is bad, please contact with shop,
Take charge.
Huifeng Haw

We awoke to a cold, wet, windy day, which never did warm up. We coped as well as we could. .

Classes proceeded on the third day of our rotation schedule. At lunch we learned that Randy and Marietta had put a map of China on their floor and the students had pointed out their home cities. Randy sang a solo of Edelweiss and then put out magazines he and Marietta had brought, covering everything from fashion to music appropriate to this age group. In pairs students were asked to read a caption on a picture and say what interested them and why. Then the magazines were passed on to another pair. This worked well.

Marta and Steve were locked out and did the Hokey Pokey to stay warm until they got into their classroom. Once there, they split into two groups and had free talk.

Nancy and Don introduced themselves and listed all the jobs they had had, and then discussed them with the students.

Nan and Ginnie had students write name tags and speak about their home, hobbies, and dreams. This was followed by Pack My Suitcase, a game in which each student names an item in alphabetic order and remembers what came before. They also played air scrabble and looked at U.S. currency.

Jon and I had our small groups engaged with pictures of our families and home town. Then students chose one or more pictures of Jon’s and each told a real or imagined story based on the pictures. About this time we were all freezing, so we got up, pushed the desks back, and played musical chairs to students’ singing. A ballroom dance class followed (we had some Ray Charles music), so I was able to teach the basics of the cha-cha and waltz. We then sat on the floor and had a short Yoga class, complete with meditation and special breathing. After a few more exercises we were finally warmed up!

After lunch Baoli passed out Global Volunteer evaluation forms which are due by Friday night. She talked about possible tours on Friday and 7 of us decided to go to the Terracotta Warriors.

From 3:00 to 5:00 Steve put his military experience in human terms that all could feel. His presentation covered a range of topics from the dangers and conditions of war to women in the military and his belief that war is a result of failed negotiations; it is not what is pictured in movies or video games. Following his talk there were many good questions from the students. We all learned a great deal from this presentation.

Nan and Ginnie met with their class at 2:30 to work on their project. Ginnie and some students left to attend the lecture and 6 girls stayed with Nan. They worked on vocabulary and customs.

After dinner Baoli opened a long discussion abut the students’ lack of attendance at classes and lectures. Some of the ideas presented were as follows:
1. Maybe rotation of students didn’t work.
2. These students are different from those who came before – more advanced, more technologically oriented, more well-to-do.
3. Phoebe and Gary, their leaders, are not enforcing lights out, though they do try to get the students to class and lectures.
4. In the future, perhaps these leaders should meet with us. We could all have discussions afterwards with the students regarding expectations and the consequences if these are not met.
5. Due to lack of participation in classes and lectures, we will not have an afternoon program tomorrow.
6. We will concentrate on the students who do attend and continue to enjoy working with those who want to learn
After this discussion, we went back out into the cold, ready to face whatever challenges and joys came our way.

-Marilyn Beck

(Photographs: 1) Marilyn teaching the students; 2)Nan teaching the students; 3) Steve giving a lecture to the students)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 Earth Day

Thought for the day: Dismount the horse and examine the flower; it is not what you see from a galloping horse. -An Wei.

It is Earth Day. We do not inherit the earth from our fathers; we borrow it from our children.
Chief Seattle, as recollected by Nan.

An Shang provides us with dichotomies to consider regarding stewardship of the earth. This is a place where water is precious. I watched An brother #2 scoop rain water from the ditch in front of his house. Yet the water from the faucet is NOT drinkable. Solar heat heats our showers. But coal and cornstalks fuel add to the smog in the air.

This morning the sun greets us with a false promise of a warm day. – 60 degrees outside and our room at 56. We continue to layer in our limited clothes. I’m in 5 layers with two pairs of long pants. Last evening we could see the nearby mountains for the first time. They are now faint on the horizon. Today was the last day of rotating teachers and teams. We now have met all the classes. Ginnie and Nan met with the Teddy/Edward Class (Class 2). They discussed dreams and careers. They played air scrabble with no digital dictionaries, and the suitcase game, followed by idioms and slang. They had a great class.

Marilyn and Jon followed up on the English translation from the package of the Hawthorne berry sweets. They discussed the problems of direct translation word for word. They divided the class into 2 groups to share family and hometown photos. Then they put a new twist on the hometown photos by having students blindly select from the stack of photos and then tell a story from the photos they chose. The results were fictitious romantic tales of Marilyn and Jon’s romance. The switched to active mode, musical chairs, and waltz lessons where Marilyn taught how to lead and how to follow. They concluded with the class teaching Marilyn and Jon the game of Pree. I was pleased, as I was the one who had introduced it.

Nancy and Don had open conversation, sharing of family information, played games, used pictures and magazines and worked on vocabulary. It was revealed that our Scot, Don, plays the bagpipes.

Randy and I sang the An Shang version of Edelweiss with students. Randy on the guitar. The flower was changed to “Mu Dan Hua” (peony) and the word “homeland” to “friends.” Then students were given different US magazines. They were to select a picture and respond to ,”I find this picture interesting because….”

Classes were better attended today as Phoebe and Gary took attendance and roused some students from their beds after a long night of “activities.” At dinner, chocolate was passed around while we brainstormed career options for bilingual speakers. Each person also reported on their afternoons.

Steve gained 96 houses in the game of landlord, making a comeback from being a peasant. Nan and Marta walked to the valley past the Tao cave temple after Marta spend an hour with Teddy looking at his pictures.

Ginnie worked with Garth and then Teddy. Don also worked with Garth. He is getting his money’s worth. Marilyn had a long walk in the country and found much subject matter for photos. Of great interest was her meeting goats and their owners. She was also escorted into a neighbor’s which was under construction.

Jon was easily able to help fix the cement mixer which was out of alignment. He also screened sand for mortar making, receiving much appreciation from the builder.

Nancy visited with students in host homes and had extensive contact with an elderly villager. Then she took a long walk and again met the elderly woman, who loves the foreigners in the village as they are so cheerful.

Marta and Bao li walked to the Buddhist temple in another village, where Bao li saw it for the first time. They found it closed up tight., but there was no sign of the reputed festival. The festival is actually being held in another village 45 minutes’ walk away. That crashed plans to take the students to the festival on Wednesday. They continued to another village, where Marta shoveled two carts full of gravel and one of sand. They wandered along a gravel road where a man racing along in a car finally found Bao li, out in nowhere, whom he had been trying to contact for some time. (Marta, how did you accomplish so much in one afternoon?)

Nancy caught upon computer work. She and Ginnie had had a long, brisk walk in the early morning.

After dinner, we had an amazing question and answer session with Professor An Wei. He gave us explanations and insights on An Shang and China, the political system, and its plans for the future – all within a historical context. An Shang is providing a model for other villages in its methods for collecting funds for improvements in infrastructure and redistributing farming land by contract. He predicts that the village will transition from small family farms to more large scale farming in the next years.

An Wei quoted an ancient expression, “Face powder should be put on the face, not on the hip,” implying that improvements should be easily observable, not hidden. An example is the new concrete road construction.

He evaluated the students we have and their difficulties with the program, saying they had been selected because they are children of the “new rich of China. He says they will not become the future political leaders of China because they have no experience with farmers and workers. The Chinese Communist party is based on the needs of farmers and workers – the great majority of the Chinese population. An Wei encouraged us to stop him in the next few days to ask questions.

-Marietta Quinby

(Photographs: 1) Marietta teaching the students; 2) Randy and Marietta teaching English songs to students; 3) Marta lending a hand to the local people; 4) Mr. An-Wei answering volunteers' questions about China)

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Thought for the day: Bringing brevity to bear…..R. Quinby

The final day has arrived. After breakfast we moved mistily to our classrooms for the final morning- interface with the students.

Marilyn and Jon broke students into groups of three and started with company/product interviews requiring students to question and answer. After working on square-dancing, they moved on to preparation work for the evening closing celebration. Closure involved free-talking and photos.

Nan and Ginnie opened with the students creating commercials from ads that were provided. After idiomatic expression-work and air scrabble, Ginnie perfected her vocal rendition of “Puff The Magic Dragon” for the students. Partying closed the morning with photo and email sharing.

Nancy and Don started their morning getting the email exchange out of the way. (The sign of a seasoned teacher!) After a session of paragraph translation, all present shared pictures of family and homes. Following idiomatic stories and a rousing game of Chinese hacky-sack, they closed the morning with picture-taking and clean-up.

Steve and Marta were ushered into a session of intensive reading and vocabulary-work by the students. This was material from a class back on campus. They did their best to thrash through the antiquated book-work to help the students. Needing a catharsis badly, they retreated to the outdoors and Marta read the lyrics to the songs, “Lemon Tree” and “The Rose”. Steve and Marta were next nominated for finalist status on American Idol after singing duets to the students.

Randy and Marietta had an extended session of public speaking using the magazines as stimuli that lasted through the first break up to the half-hour recess. Much sharing of emails and photos began to take place as the morning progressed. A well-planned exploration of village impressions was bumped by the need to practice the performances for the upcoming evening. A quiet moment of thanks was shared by all before cleaning the classroom.

The festivities for the evening were extensive, with each class giving performances, dances and dramatic skits. After diploma distribution and short speeches, we sang our way out the door to finish packing for Friday’s 8:00 a.m. departure for Xian and the Terracotta warriors.

-Randy Quinby

(Photographs: 1) Jon interacting with students in the class; 2) Randy teaching the students; 3) Last photo with Anshang cooks and hosts; 4) Sad goodbyes )

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tuesday-Friday, Apr, 22-25

Tuesday April 22
By Dave Hale

Thought for the Day: “Our libraries are filled with writers who know all about China, but could not see how much they did not know” (John King Fairbank, Harvard historian).

During breakfast at the hotel we talked to some high school teachers from Vermont. The day was sunny and cool. In the morning Peggy went to the Provincial History Museum while I walked to the Forest of Stone Tablets. There were a great many stone tablets of varying size, some mounted on turtles. But there were ancient sculptures and modern paintings of more interest. Many students were sketching various aspects of the museum.

After lunch we went to school for two classes, grades 2 and 3. My grade 2 class worked with animals and numbers; their book has a story about cats which parallels the parable of the Prodigal Son. Grade three dealt with favorite fruits. At the end of class the grade 3 students lined up for autographs. Their books indicated that they had seen Hugh and/or Mary previously.

Then we met Hu Di at the Wu Ming Shi Wu (Nameless) Restaurant, a very informal place. The feature is Cross-Bridge Rice Noodles—noodles, onions, and other things cooked at the table in big bowls of chicken broth. Side dishes included pickled sea weed. Then we walked to the misnamed Harbour Place, a big mall patronized by students from Chang An University. Peggy got a manicure and struck up a conversation with two English majors. Out in the hall I chatted with two more. There was general amusement as Hu Di and the girls tried on wigs at the shop across the hall. Peggy also bought Chinese birthday candles.

Wednesday April 23

By Peggy Hale

Thought for the Day: Happy Birthday Shakespeare!

An almost clear morning. Hu Di outlined the place of Shakespeare in China today. English majors must study some of the plays, especially tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet. The Early Modern English is regarded as a major challenge.

We were a little late to school. With two teachers out and my throat still scratchy, David taught four classes of 45+ students in grades 2 and 3. A teacher helped with translation and I chipped in as I could because my sore throat was worse. Their pronunciation is quite good and they imitate well at this age. There were only a few corrections. The students are fun to be with. They get very excited with photos, especially of our grandchildren (ages 4 and 6) with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.
After lunch, good as usual, with three teachers, we went back to the hotel for a nap. We went to the Xingquinggong Park and enjoyed the sunny weather and all the people who were out. Hu Di took us to the country People’s Restaurant.
Thursday April 24, 2008 Dave

Thought for the Day: May our mouths speak words of wisdom and the utterances of our hearts give understanding (from Psalm 49:3).

The day began with breakfast at the hotel. Hu Di showed us her wedding pictures, two albums with a variety of dresses—some modern, a few very traditional. During the morning we visited the Taoist Temple of the Eight Immortals, a complex of low buildings around courtyards. The buildings contain images and lots of tablets. A few monks and worshippers were around. The weather warmed nicely.
After lunch I went to school while Peggy rested her aching knee. I had a Grade 2 and a Grade 5 class. The Grade 5 class had a lesson on field trips, which Gao Xin No. 2 School doesn’t do. A bit frustrating to have the students speculate about field trips they can not take. It emerged that about a third of the students have not been to the City Wall, which was recommended as a personal field trip.
For dinner we went with Hu DI to Junior 6’s Dumpling House for mushroom, beef, and shrimp dumplings, plus corn and egg soup and some excellent rice-dates-honey dessert. Then we shopped for bilingual picture books for the grandchildren at the bi JHHT Bookstore.

Friday April 25
By Dave Hale

Song for the Day: Now our weeks are over, we’ll fly away
To out home back in the USA,
We’ll fly away. . . .

The morning dawned almost clear. In the morning Hu Di joined us at the school. Michael gave us a tour of the art rooms, where we met some teachers and admired student work. We also looked in on the library and computer room. At exercise time the students practiced for ceremonial marching for a big sports meeting next week. We had a Grade 5 and a Grade 2 class. One novelty was the Mexican money which surfaced in Peggy’s suitcase last night. Grade 5 again dealt with field trips while Grade 2 moved on to cleaning implements, mop and so on. The school laid on a sumptuous lunch. Dave was presented with a piece of calligraphic art.

Here endeth the Journal of Global Volunteers Team 159.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Friday-Monday, April 18-21

Friday, April 18

By Peggy Hale

Thought for the Day: Service is food for the soul.

Photographs for the Day: 1)Peggy took the lead in the morning exercise at La La Shou Special Education Center. 2) On her last day of teaching at La La Shou, Peggy was presented a painting called Spring trimmed with watermelon seeds. The teacher explained the painting that Peggy brought the spring to her and the children and watermelon seeds are like the seeds of friendship.

The departing trio had the day to themselves as Gao Xin No. 2 School was having mid-term exams.

Today was my last day a La La Shou Special Education Center. David went with me to take pictures and play the piano. Most of my material had been returned to the GV office, so I felt a bit lost. At school we spent quite a bit of time singing and looking at David’s snapshots of America as well as reviewing mine. David played the piano as we taught them “The More We Get Together.” We talked about the word “friend,” which is in their reading vocabulary. Hu Di was with us and helped with translation. We also talked about the Erie Canal, which we live near. They also have a canal in Xi’an. Then we went to exercises where David took more pictures.
At 10:00 the Farewell Ceremony began with Hu Di translating. The 3 and 4 classes came together. We were all excited. One boy grabbed my glasses, another my watch. The adults rescued them and the children settled down. Many children performed, as is the custom, the teacher gave a speech of gratitude. We sung the Erie Canal song again and David played a bit of blues. The children presented me with a picture they had drawn of spring, with lovely colors and a frame of watermelon seeds and two white beans, one of which represented me. A most touching song was sung, which Hu Di translated.

St the end of the morning a box arrived, 112 rhythm instruments donated to the school by Global Volunteers. These were unpacked, experimented with, and photographed.

We joined the rest of the team for lunch at the Open Kitchen Restaurant. After lunch Mary and David walked to the Xingquinggong Park down the street. Large and very well done. I hauled a lot of materials back to the office for sorting. Dinner was at the hotel, with much discussion of final arrangements and packing.

Saturday-Sunday, April 19-20

By Dave Hale

Thoughts for the Day: Chinese proverb. “Zhi zhe buy an, yan zhe bu zhi: know much, not talk; talk much, not know.” [Might not help recruiting for Global Volunteers.]
“Wisdom is better than weapons” (Eccl. 9:18)

Photography for the Day: Dave endeared the students to him, with his humurous and sincere personality. A picture taken of Dave, 2-graders, Michael and Echo (local teachers).

Breakfast Saturday was at the hotel with the departing trio, who left on schedule with Hu DI. Light rain began and continued through the day. We dawdled, pondering what to do with ourselves. Eventually we set out for the Kai Yuan Shopping Mall, really a seven-story department store. We sought the Olympic Store to no avail until Peggy engaged two girls, who summoned five boys to lead us to the quite modest store. The kids turned out to be Grade 7 students at Gao Xin No. 1 School. We, mostly Peggy, engaged them in extensive conversation about their families and future expectations. Lunch was at McDonald’s, not exactly like those in America. RMB 35 for two Whoppers with cheese, but no lettuce or tomato. After more wandering through the store, we walked through the tunnel to the Bell Tower. Here Peggy’s knee and ankle complained enough that we returned to the hotel. Dinner was in the main Chinese restaurant at the hotel. We had a nice table by the window with a view of the City Wall. The open feeling of the big room was nice, though the noise level made us understand Global Volunteers’ use of a private room. We were offered knives and forks, which Peggy used.

Sunday morning was smoggy, though the rain had stopped. At breakfast we talked at length with members of an Australian sewing guild. After breakfast we were startled by a loud round of fireworks on the hotel sidewalk. This welcomed a large bridal party, which arrived in about eight large cars. During the day we saw several other weddings, or at least their cars.

We taxies to the Dong Da Jie (East St.) Christian Church, within the City Wall and east of the Bell Tower. The 10:00 a.m. service was the third of three. The sanctuary seats about 400 hundred, with two overflow areas for another 150 or so. The format of the service was familiar, though “Amen” was the only non-Chinese word we heard. The hymns had Chinese words set to western melodies, such as “This is My Father’s World.” Several people befriended us. One woman, who spoke a little English, made a place for us to sit by her. After I coughed a few times, she produced cups of tea for both of us. After the service a member of the congregation translated for us as we introduced ourselves to the pastors.

In the afternoon we rode a “bus”/golf cart around the City Wall with couples from Illinois and Australia. Most enjoyable. After dinner we hung out across the street from the hotel watching the early evening activities—kite flying, whipping the top, badminton, and so on. We even saw one young cyclist wearing a helmet.

Monday April 21, 2008

By Peggy Hale

Thought for the Day: “Be willing to so seeds of reconciliation” (Shin Kyung-Ha, South Korea).

This was my first day at Gao Xin No. 2 School. We both taught Grade 4 and had lunch with several teachers. It was not as tiring as La La Shou, but I preferred the smaller classes there and seeing the same students each day. I taught about states and provinces in my first class. There are 31 provinces in China. I had the children write something of their own choosing for me to take to America. I had five children read aloud what they had written. In my other class I taught about the weather and wrote questions on the board for them to answer. We went around the class and each answered a different question. I also showed them a shower cap, toothbrush, and comb from the hotel, as these items are labeled in both languages. I recommended they look around Xi’an for examples of both languages to help them learn English.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Team160-Anshang Village, Apr. 6-16

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Thought for the Day: E. E. Cummings The most wasted of all days is the one without laughter.

Wow, what an interesting and diverse group we have for Team 160! Last night we all told about our lives, skills and interests so we could get to know a little about each other, in the hopes that it will be easier to become both friends and supportive team members. Our morning involved the challenging rituals of getting organized and checking out of the hotel, then we enjoyed a delicious breakfast before moving to the Global Volunteer office. Poor Steve was still waiting for his luggage.

Baoli successfully guided us through our orientation by explaining the history of Global Volunteers in China and the philosophy of the organization before we developed our team goals. After discussing our individual goals we organized them into these six team goals: to teach effectively, to increase mutual understanding through serving, to build friendships, to have fun, to learn about China and to be a productive team. Next cam discussing the qualities that are necessary for achieving our goals of being a successful team. We quickly arrived at the following 17: flexibility, sharing, listening, trust, having fun, respect, punctuality, working hard, patience, being nonjudgmental, politeness, asking for help, optimism, humility, problem solving, having a good attitude and focusing on our goals. We all agreed this was doable! Since time was running shorBaoli successfully guided us through our orientation by explaining the history of Global Volunteers in China and the philosophy of the organization before we developed our team goals. After discussing our individual goals we organized them into these six team goals: to teacht, Baoli explained Global Volunteers six policies, their importance and our three major guidelines. While doing this she was also able to share information concerning the local customs, including important and interesting information what will prove useful VERY soon. Our next team accomplishment was determining who would do what. Our Journal Managers are Jon and Ginnie, Health and Safety - Randy and Nan, Free Time Coordinators - Marilyn and Marietta, Celebration Coordinators - Don, Steve and Marta, and our Teaching Coordinators are Don and Nancy.

Lunch was at 12:30 so we hurried to see if there was any information in the Global Volunteer library that we wanted to take back to An Shang. The good news was that Steve's luggage arrived during lunch, so he will be able to wear his own clothes while in An Shang! It was interesting watching the two Bell Persons trying to load all of our luggage and supplies on to the bus, while still leaving room for us! Fortunately they were successful, so we were able to arrive in An Shang on time, in spite of an exciting bumpy road.

The Village and students gave us a very warm welcome with drums, smiles and handshakes. Unfortunately, we had to leave quickly so we could find our rooms and get ready for all of our evening activities. While at dinner we had a fairly unsuccessful discussion about tomorrow schedule. I am sure that tomorrow we will be able to resolve all of the teams questions and concerns with the schedule.

At our evening Welcoming Ceremony there were many speeches, an overview of An Shang Village and its progress, GV introductions and several performances - we enjoyed them all! It has been a busy day and there is still a lot to do before climbing into bed, so I’ll close for now!

Respectfully submitted by: Marta Wallace

(Photographs: 1)Team 160 members at the orientation meeting; 2)Warm welcome by the villagers and students; 3) A photo with our 85 students)

Monday, April 7,2008

Thought for the Day: Be patient – the results will be worth the effort.

Team assignBreakfast was at 7 AM with a great spread of local fare. This was our first day with the students.ments were made with the volunteers divided into five teams, each working with about 16 students. Nancy and I introduced ourselves with a short bio of our lives. The students made name cards and explained the origin of their names followed by a short bio of themselves. They are from many paces, but most were city people, and none were from small villages like An Shang.

I had them talk about their English experiences, how they learned the language, and what methods worked best. After the break, we got ideas from them about what subjects were of interest to them and what they would like to discuss. We got requests for English proficiency needed to be accepted to an American college, U.S. culture and history, viewpoints on love and social standards, family relationships and clothing standards plus many others. Much of the discussion centered around American college entrance requirements, so Nancy gave a summary of testing and entry requirements.

Other teams had similar experiences on this first day and they covered such subjects as maps, word games, food favorites, and student interests.

After lunch and a team meeting, the volunteers met at the school for a walk around town. The tour proved interesting with questions and explanations about local customs, symbols, architecture, goats and cows, family shrines, and numerous visits with locals, including a lady who in her youth had her feet bound.

The day ended with dinner and a team meeting to review the day’s events.

- Donald

(Photographs: 1) Donald teaching the students; 2) The Anshang Village hollow next to the new school)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Thought for the day: “What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expect generally happens. – Benjamin Disraeli

Nancy and I walked around the village for half an hour before breakfast, and as I looked out across the dense fields of winter wheat and down rows of brick houses, once again I felt the thrill of being so far from home. It is so alien and yet familiar. The world can indeed be a small place.Second day with the students today. We had spent some time yesterday discussing our classes and I for one have learned a lot about teaching methods. My co-leader, Nan, and I had our morning session loosely planned, which was cause for relief. Class One’s morning began with a song and progressed to the students’ Chinese names with explanations. The Chinese characters are lovely to look at, and I think they give more thought to the naming process than Westerners do.

There is no doubt that these adolescent students need a lot of stimulation and movement to keep their attention focused, so we tried to create a good mix of activities throughout the morning – word games, play acting, songs, and small discussion groups – making sure no one was left out. They are a delightful group and I am looking forward to getting go know them all better.

A brief lunch update: Randy and Marietta got their guitar out of its box today for a rendition of “Let It Be.” Nancy had great success with handing out household items like scissors and a glue stick for pairs of students to play act a TV commercial, and Donald invited students with widowed grandmothers to send them along for his inspection for possible nuptials.

In the afternoon, Nancy gave a well-received talk on the admission process for university, which several of the team also attended. Others took the opportunity for an after lunch nap. Later, we gathered for a Chinese lesson by Bao Li, beginning with the history of the Chinese language, dialects, pinyon, and construction of Mandarin characters. We dutifully repeated the words after her, but it’s very complicated – one word, with four inflections, can have ten totally different meanings!


(photographs: 1) Anshang houses; 2) Ginnie coaching her student during the break; 3) Nancy giving a lecture on American Education)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thought for the day: “Progress is man’s ability to complicate simplicity.” Thor Heyerdah

Breakfast at 7:00 included all the usual good foods, more important, were the gifts from Bao Li – our names in Chinese characters and pinyon. Enjoyed mispronouncing them..

After a walk in the fields, I rushed to class, only to find the gates locked. Randy, some students and I yelled and banged on the gates to rouse some help.

Marilyn and I had planned an elaborate lesson using one-page articles from Time magazine. The task was for each student to locate unknown words that the class could explore. Then they were to read the article and summarize its meaning for the whole class. The tasks proved to be too difficult for most students, but did reveal some useful new vocabulary and concepts. A good break was needed, and we filled it with some traditional American songs that we all could sing.

The hit of the morning was the time each of the four teams in the class acted out major Chinese festivals – Chinese New Year, Valentines Day, Dragon Boat Festival, and Tomb Sweeping Day. Each skit brought the house down. Most of all, Tomb Sweeping Day, when the mourners gave their all to the dear departed. What hams!

During one of the breaks, Steve and Marta played football with a bunch of students in the front plaza. Our group cheered them on. Some wanted to know the rules of football as well.

I was impressed by the lessons Randy and Marietta’s group did with TV commercials. They brought in printed ads, which students used as a basis for TV ads.

Randy and Don were to lecture on the American educational system. Cancelled due to students being called to a meeting in which they were given jobs for the upcoming folk festival.

Steve commented that Jane Eyre, one of his students quoted, “No day but today; tomorrow is another day...” The class name has become the Peerless Stars.

We disbursed in the afternoon. Many of us walked to the village center, where we visited stores, and talked with the about 10 students who were waiting for a bus to take them to town where they could get showers. The bus turned out to be fit for 6. They managed to fit 10! Such is the worth of a shower. Marilyn and I spent the time shooting photos of people who were eager to see the images we made. We were lucky that Babylon, a most verbal and considerate student, joined us on a walk to a chicken farm and a small Buddhist temple. We even were able to see one of the caves in which some people lived 20 years ago and which was still being used by a family for storage and for cooking.

At supper, Mr. An Wei told us we were to be on the reviewing stand with the local dignitaries at the opening ceremonies of the fold festival tomorrow.

-Jon Dungan

(Photographs: 1)The team is enjoying the food; 2)Jon teaching the students; 3)Steve helping the local farmer mixing cement)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thought for the day:
When the storms of life rage and the ground beneath youo feet dissolves, there are lessons to be learned by paddling harder and believing you can make it and not letting deep waters keep you from diving into life. Author unknown.

Today is the big day for the Chou-chin folk Art Gallery and Festival in our village of An Shang. It started raining at (:30 AM. Our team met at the school and walked to the area where we were to sit on the stage. The ceremony started at 10:00 AM. There was a good crows until it started raining in earnest.

Marta is now an official villager, so I am going to see if Mr. An Wei will give her a prestigious job – teaching doesn’t pay much. Ha Ha!

Nancy gave a nice speech (see below) of welcome. I don’t remember much because this one gentleman kept wedging between me and Ginnie so his picture could be taken with us. Then another opera performer kept wanting his picture taken with Marietta. So, it was somewhat comical.

The students were English interpreters of the artwork in the galleries, and the did a wonder full job. After the ceremony they escorted our team to the art gallery. Three flights of stairs. You’re killing me! I’m going to talk with Marta to see if I can start an elevator business. Ha Ha! The arts and crafts were beautiful – paintings, photography, bronze statues, and shadow puppets. These students are so nice and respectful. They’ve done an outstanding job today.

After lunch I went for a walk with Nancy. I met Nancy and Ginnie. As we were walking, Nancy decided to take a scenic picture. In the process, she decided to do the “An Shang mud jig. She went slipping and sliding to maintain her balance. Fred Astaire could have learned a few fancy steps from her.

Then one of the students said she had lost her cell phone. Ginnie said, “If it dropped in the toilet, how would you find it?” I told her the phone would go, “blub, blub, blub.” Everyone laughed. We always have fun times on our walks. I was offered a worm for protein but declined the offer.

Heading back to the village, I met Mr. Ming, who invited us to his home. I had helped him mix cement for two hours yesterday while he laid bricks. His wife gave us some spice rolls, which I gave to Mr. An Wei’s brother. We had a nice visit.

After supper, the team went to the Art Gallery, where we could purchase many beautiful pieces of folk art. That ended a wonderful day.

-Steve Faiola

Nancy Pine spoke to the opening ceremonies of the An Shang Folk Festival on behalf of all the Global Volunteers. Here is her speech:

"Governor Gao and Governor Dong, ladies and gentleman,

We, the members of the Global Volunteers Team 160, are grateful to be part of life in An Shang village. From the first day we arrived, we have been welcomed by you.

We have come from many parts of the United States to learn from you and to share with you in building a better world. In the last few days we have watched you work from early morning until late in the evening making improvements on your houses.

As we enjoy the luxury of walking along the new roads we recognize how much effort it has taken to build them. We also see the street lights and the cell phone towers, the Folk Art Gallery, and of course, the impressive school and gardens around it, and we are amazed that you accomplish all of these things while also planting and harvesting your crops, running your businesses, and caring for your families.

Although we do not speak Chinese, we are learning from you –from your kindness and generosity to share your lives with us, from your incredibly hard work, and from your ability to find new ways to improve your lives. And now we are fortunate enough to be in An Shang village for your second Folk Arts Festival. In the next few days we will deepen our knowledge of Chinese traditions—from Chinese opera to the handicrafts you make.

Many foreigners travel to the cities of China, but few have the privilege of seeing the changes occurring in the countryside and to see the many talents of An Shang villagers. We know you—the farmers of China—are also the heart of China.

Thank you for the privilege of being here. We wish you great success for the Festival and hope it is the beginning of a long tradition."

(Photographs: 1)The crowd for the Opening Ceremony of the 2nd Chouchin Folk Art Festival; 2) Marta was presented the "Honorary Anshang Villager"Award; 3)ChouChin Folk Art Gallery in Anshang village; 4) Nancy Pine speaking at the Ceremony, representing Global Volunteers Team 160)

Friday, April 11 2008

Thought for the day:

If you want to know me, look inside your heart.


We awoke to rain and cold. Morning classes continued to be exciting. As teachers, Jon and I again changed our plans and went with the flow. We did everything from individual reports of the students’ experiences of the festival, to staging a Thanksgiving dinner, to small group discussions of weddings and cultural differences. I particularly liked the intimacy of our wedding discussion as we were huddled together, sharing thoughts and feelings.

Donald and Nancy covered holidays, pronunciation, and an exercise in which students acted out what they saw on in a picture. Marta and Steve also worked on pronunciation, along with American food, and their usual fun songs. Randy and
Marietta played a game called, puree (yet to b
e explained to me), and acted out idioms. Nan and Ginnie had fun with word games, songs, and skits having to do with eating in a restaurant (using collected menus).

At lunch we had our usual fantastic food plus cream of elephant (properly named after its gray color), which I thought was quite tasty.

After eating, BaoLi told us about the arrangements she had made for our trip on Sat. morning to the DaMing and Famen temples. We then discussed at length the pros and cons of rotating teachers. The students had expressed a desire to experience all of the teachers. After much give and take, it was decided to devote four mornings starting next Thurs. to this program.

Mr. An came in and asked us to meet the cast and crew from the Fufeng County opera at 3:00 p.m. for pictures and discussion. After some uncertainty, everything worked out as follows: Formal pictures were taken of the cast, crew and volunteers on the school steps.

The lecture on the American educational system given by Donald and Randy proceeded. Students came and were engrossed, asking many questions.

The cast and crew met in two classrooms, with Mr. An and Bao Li as interpreters. There was a warm give and take in these rooms, as the humanness of us all became apparent. This really became strong as we ended our formal questions and started informal picture-taking. I haven’t been embraced by so many kind people before. On top of this, we learned a lot about Chinese opera!

This learning continued at dinner as the group shared what had transpired in the two classrooms.

This day has been full and as I walked back, I enjoyed the fog – so much like my home town and yet also different. I heard the frogs and smelled the dampness and knew deep down that we are one.

-Marilyn Beck

(Photographs: 1)Photo with the opera cast, crew; 2)The local Qinqiang Opera on stage)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thought for the day:

Walk cheerfully over the earth, seeking that of God in every person

George Fox

Zǎo shàng hǎo!

It’s Saturday, a welcome break from the teaching schedule.

With lesson plans to polish, Randy and I slep
t late until 6. We were in and out of the cold water before the blasting of the village wake up bus. Steve, across the hall, greeted us with an invigorating, “Good Morning, How are you today? Ready to go?” That greeting had become a welcome part of our routine here at an Shang.
Out into the cold mist of the morning. No sun today. Unlike other mornings, An Shang is not
yet in action
. The gentleman living in the tent on the construction site of the corner building is still sleeping. His little guard dog looks at us from his makeshift brick house without a bark. The cement mixer is unattended. No one is shifting sand at this hour.

These are becoming familiar sights.

Now the loud speaker blasts from atop the An
family homestead. “Today is April 12th. This is the An Shang Broadcasting Station. Good morning from Landy of Fanyi University.” Today is the third day of the An Shang Folk Art Festival honoring the opening of the opening of the An Shang village school and Global Volunteers.

Over breakfast, we consider our day. Steve, Nancy, Marta, and
Don will meet students to explore the village and visit behind stage at the Fufeng County Opera. Later, Marta and Nancy found themselves stars in full costume on stage. The curtain was opened with much picture taking and applause from the villagers in the audience. Later, during the performance, an actor kept nudging Nancy toward the stage. With the help of students, she rejected the kind offer to watch the performance from the stage next to the gong.

Soon after breakfast, the rest of us, Marilyn, Jon, Ginnie, Nan, Randy and I set off to visit Famen Temple. Marilyn and I snagged two students, Stephanie and Michelle, to be our translators. As the two cars passed through the gates of An Shang, we felt as if we had been sprung to explore new territory. At Famen, the thirteen-story pagoda rises above a crypt that had been unknown for millennium, until it was discovered in 1981 when a side of the pagoda had given way. The crypt houses four sacred finger bones of the Buddha.

We were pleased to realize that the English of Stephanie and Michelle far surpassed that of our English-speaking guide. They soon became the translators for the guide. Thank you Marilyn and Baoli for arranging our Famen trip. On the return, Michelle taught us, “gemenr,” “jiemenr;” “buddy” and “sis.” Ginnie gleefully planned to “knock the socks off” her students on Monday morning.

The five Global Volunteers from Xi’an joined us for lunch. The An Shang teachers felt assured that we have the best arrangement in this meaningful village with our college students, who seem more remarkable each day.

In the afternoon Don, Jon and Marilyn went with students behind stage, and members of the opera company applied opera make-up to
several students and dressed them in costume. Jon took great shots of Minnie on stage with the back drop of the open-mouthed tiger. They were all impressed with how friendly the members of the opera company were.

Randy and I were invited on yet another adventure riding to Wujin in a mini-van with 9 students going for showers. Stephanie orchestrated getting us all into the vehicle. While others showered, Randy and I shopped with the aid of Michelle. We replaced Nancy’s wine with a dubious vintage of Great Wall red and stocked up on chocolate. Randy attempted buying men’s underwear in the grocery store, the brand named FATBOT. It wasn’t big enough.

Steve had another successful day exploring and playing cards with the students.

After dinner we made our way back to the mud field of the opera stage where students from Huaxi University entertained with modern dance, dramatic reading and song.

Steve commented, “A full day.”

-Marietta Quinby

(Photograph: 1) The Pagoda in Famen Temple; 2)Nancy and Marta trying on the opera costume. Learned to swing the long sleeves too! ; 3)Steve playing the card game Landlord with the students)

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Thoughts for the day:

“To business that we love we rise betimes and go to ‘t with delight.” Antony and Cloepatra

“Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.” (I forget the attribution)

To everyone’s great joy, Sunday dawned blue and sunny. Sounds of building construction and people in the streets could be heard increasingly during the morning. Soon after breakfast Ginnie, Marilyn, John, Marietta, and Randy departed for Da Ming Temple in two cars engaged by two of our enterprising students, Michele and Stephanie. This temple was pronounced even better than the tourist attraction, Famen Temple – quite lovely and serene. A delightful private tour was given by the attending monk, with translations by Michele and Stephanie.

Steve had quite an entourage for another morning of touring the village, and ‘tis said that Don was seen plowing in a field – not on a tractor, either, mind you!

Marta, Nancy, Baoli, and Nan were joined by Lucia and her daughter to watch the opera performers putting on their makeup. (The daughter-in-law of Brother # 2’s son, Lucia is an English teacher and student of Marta’s from last August.) As the performers donned their costumes, they took time to enthusiastically strike poses for us eager shutter-bugs.

With the last day of the Folk Art Festival in full swing, street vendors relieved various members of the team of a few yuan. Cookies, gaily printed long underwear and boxers, baskets, a pot scraper, boy baby pants, and several typical Chinese spoons were a few of the purchases.

Lunchtime concluded with Baoli’s instructions for the student speech competition to be held in the coming week, and ensuing discussion.

A relaxed afternoon brought most of us out into the sunshine.

Nancy returned to the opera for its last performance, then joined Don to watch some large and very vocal pigs being weighed. Don spent some of the afternoon walking to a neighboring village with three of his students who helped him visit with the villagers. Marta and Nan had wanted to visit the grave of Mr. An Wenqing, whose funeral we attended in August. We were joined by Ginnie, Marietta, and Randy, as well as students Angel and Katherine. The walk was an eye-opener, as the low-growing wheat
afforded views of the countryside that were not permitted last August, the corn being nearly 8 feet high. A new addition to the irrigation system and piles of rock for road base, as well as newly planted trees, marked two new roads. Urban sprawl comes to An Shang!

Randy and Ginnie took off for another village where Randy checked out a solar cooker and bought chocolate, while Marta, Marietta, Angel, Katherine, and Nan returned to our own village by a different route.

Marilyn and Jon spent much of the afternoon working on their Monday lecture before going for a walk through the fields, while Steve and his harem had riotous games of Landlord, during which Steve lost 49 houses. Good work girls!

Supper ended with discussions of the coming week’s schedule and classroom activities, before several computers were brought out and other team members repaired to their rooms for the night.

-Nan Carman

(Photograph: 1) visit to the Daming Temple; 2)The opera performers putting on make-ups)

onday, April 14, 2008

Thought for the day:

There is a principle which is pure,

placed in the human mind which in different places and ages

has had different names.

It is deep and inward, confined to no forms of religion

nor excluded from any.

Where the heart stands in perfect sincerity

with whomever it meets.

Paraphrase of John Woolman (1720-1772)

“Oh, no,” said Ginnie as she pulled the curtains back. “I thought the cooks had done an even more thorough job than usual washing the courtyard, but it’s raining again.” I groaned and pulled out my rain jacket. But we agreed it was a blessing that the weekend had been beautiful.

Lots of us began the morning or ended last evening, writing our so-called model speeches to help the students grasp what they should do during this week’s Speech Festival. In the process we told the students a little more about our lives.

Our upside down day with lecture in the morning and classes in the afternoon worked pretty well even though we had to keep the students alert and engaged until close to supper time. Marta, Steve, Nan, Baoli, and Nancy headed for Fufeng County at 8:30, joggling along the county roads, past magnificent fields of rape seed almost iridescent yellow in the morning mist, and down into the vast valley where Fufeng County sits. After a post office stop where Nan got the boxes for her hefty basket, we headed for the market where we took plenty of photos and Baoli herded us between stalls and food displays of vegetables, pineapples, sizzling pancakes, select-your-own potpourri which could then be cooked for you and then spotted a vendor make noodles. Her patience in explaining various processes certainly takes her ever closer to near sainthood. A strong “Hello” made us turn to find the Fufeng Opera director coming toward us. He had seen us walk past and invited us to meet his beautiful young daughter. Then for shopping—first in the little market shops and then in the large supermarket where we loaded up on wine, then junk food, and the like, hoping that the gawkers who kept looking into our baskets and pointing at various items knew that we were buying for several people, not just ourselves.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch so-to-speak, Marilyn and Jon were giving a successful lecture, with Marilyn handling US governmental structure of the 3 branches, and Jon talking about the two major political parties. They had taken on a complex topic, and there were plenty of questions from students after the talks as well as during the afternoon classes.

After lunch those who happened to be around were treated to a demonstration of musical instruments from Yunnan Province—several hu lu si made from gourds and a ba wu or bamboo flute. They were brought by a man who teaches how to play these in Baoji and is also Mr. Feng’s teacher. The slightly haunting sound wafted through the courtyard as he played first a love song and then several others and Marilyn danced her way around the table and eventually ended up playing some gentle tunes on one. Mr. An Wei, Mr. Feng, Brother #5, and Mrs. Huang, from the gallery, were obviously enjoying this demonstration and all of them looked considerably more relaxed now that the Folk Arts Festival has ended.

By afternoon, we had remembered how to engage the students in various oral English activities, with two teams spending a lot of time answering questions generated by the talks and explaining taxes, social security, military retirement, discrimination, etc., etc. Then we all turned to our task for the day of explaining the Speech Festival, giving our speeches, and helping the students come up with appropriate topics for their talks. Following Marietta’s suggestion, some focused on what makes a good audience, and Marietta and Randy discussed with their students the importance of being an energy giver rather than an energy eater.

Finally, after our usual dinner discussion, we learned that Jon and Randy and their beards have been growing stories—some of which involve who’s who, who’s strongest looking, who’s looking like Hemingway, and more.

So once again, a packed day comes to a close as we crawl under our cotton quilts and sleep on until the morning doves begin to coo.


(Photographs: 1) Marilyn giving a lecture on US government ; 2) Ride to Fufeng; 3)The country view on the way; 4)FufengVegetable market; 5) Skillful noodle man; 5) Learning to play Hu Lu Si )

Journal, April 15th, 2008

Thought for the day: Put forth your effort with no thought of gain. – Deng Ming-Dao

It was cold as ice…then paradise. The day dawned crisp, if not clear, with the promise of spectacular weather.

After our usual delicious fare, an investigation into the validity of the verb “to glomp” and the day’s briefing, we set off to have our students enlighten us on the finer points of Chinese culture, the main goal being the continuing preparation for the speech festival/not competition.

Following a fruitful discussion sorting out and expanding on the American political system as taught by Jon and Marilyn the day before, Marietta held forth in the classroom as the seasoned architect of speeches by having the students brainstorm and outline their topics in preparation for the classroom competition the following day. The intense pace of speech prep. was broken by learning another verse of “Let It Be”, which has obviously become the class song.

Ginnie and Nan fielded questions about the former day’s lecture also, focusing mainly on American consumer economics issues such as credit and debit cards, checks, and the credit crunch. Following a session on idioms, Ginnie became the first person eligible for workmen’s compensation after suffering a blow to her nose during an English-conversation balloon-stomp. (Don’t ask.)

Don and Nancy defied the odds of understanding by giving a clear explanation (not validity) of the electoral college system. This monumental undertaking was lightened by tongue-twisters, tailing of tales and tunes.

After enhancing their students’ emotional sphere through relationship role-playing, Steve and Marta added chairs to the National Assembly of the United Nations by having their students create sovereign states, complete with flags, governments and education systems.

Jon and Marilyn honed their students’ speeches for the big festival that must not be referred to as a competition.

The afternoon’s activities included baseball and a trip to Fufeng County by the better half of Team 160.

A detailed lecture on the basics of baseball with diagrams, gestures and a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” by Marta and the students, preceded the game itself. Manager Marta and her coaches and umpire Nan, Steve and Nancy led the energized neo-players to the cement field. With coach Steve urging on the would-be “boys and girls of summer”, Nan demonstrating the finer points of cheerleading to her new squad (a Kodak-Moment missed) and Nancy calling the plays as umpire, each of the members of the three teams had a chance to do remarkably well at striking the ball lent by Marta’s dog with the rolling-pin baseball bat. The legacy of baseball in An Shang has been firmly established by Team 160!

After considerable seat-shifting, the Fufeng crew bounced eastward toward the big city. Following a swing through the market area, we were released to scour the metropolis on our own. When Mr.Google at internet-heaven apologized for not allowing me to download the material I wanted, Jon, Marilyn, Ginnie, Marietta and I found the solace of a temple to the city god to get away from the noisy streets. Jon and Marilyn chose to continue to bathe in the peaceful surroundings as the other three of us challenged the Sun and Moon pastry shop to produce a cup of coffee. As the incredible manager Lily Wang plied us with her wares, Ginnie, Marietta and I savored the time to just chat and enjoy a bit of modernity. Meanwhile, Donald rummaged through the hardware stores in search of the elusive pineapple peeler and… following a quick shop at a supermarket, we headed home, sated with civility. We closed the wondrous journey with slight friction between the poles of the outstretched hand of the driver wanting a little extra and Jon and Ginnie claiming the need for a discount. The former, pleading he expanded the capacity of the minivan by bumping his head on the roof, the latter for generating the idea for barf-bags in the third seat. The tenacious Baoli was swayed by neither: the flat fee was paid.

A repast filled with stories and laughter was followed by an intense movie in the auditorium entitled “The Tibetan Antelope”. A full day to say the least.

-R. Quinby

(Photographs: 1) Marta & Steve teaching students playing baseball; 2) The City God Temple in Fufeng)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thoughts For The Day:

Helen Foster Snow: It is not life that is important, but how it is lived.

Author Unknown: Blessed are the flexible, for they will not break.

Where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday I was writing the first journal entry, now we only have six classes remaining.

The morning mist burned off by noon so we enjoyed a beautiful day. We were all thrilled because an afternoon walk was scheduled, but more on that later. The morning activity in all of our classes was the same - speech presentations, then the students then selected the three speakers they thought presented the best speeches. These speeches will be presented to the entire group on Thursday and Friday afternoons.

We had a team meeting at our noon meal. Several issues were discussed, the most important being how we are doing on our “Team Goals”. We all made comments concerning each goal and how we felt

we were doing. When we got to the list of items that make an effective team, it was noted that we are lacking in the area of “timeliness”. Baoli refreshed our memories as to the times of meals in the hopes that we will be better able to accomplish this.

The afternoon walk was enjoyed by all. We walked to the old Taoist/Buddhist Temples that are in caves close to a nearby village. We experienced a beautiful Spring day with blooming fields, flowers and trees. There are several caves in the area of the temple, so many students and Global Volunteers explored the area and there were numerous photo ops! Almost everyone walked a little farther down the hill and were one is able to overlook the Wei River Valley. Since time was short we were not able to go all the way to the terrace below. Before and after the afternoon walk, Ginnie, Nan, Steve and Marta met with their students who wanted extra help with their speech presentation.

At dinner Baoli posted a schedule for the teachers concerning the rotation of students to different classes for the next four days. This change will give us a chance to meet and talk with all of the students and the other way around. In addition we talked about our options for our weekend activities, but were unable to reach any conclusions before we had to leave for the auditorium were we met with the students at 7:30 P.M... Mr. An-Wei gave an excellent and moving presentation with photographs on the life and accomplishments of Helen Foster Snow, and how she influenced his life.

For the first time since we have been here, the sky and moon were bright enough so we did not need a flashlight to walk home. Maybe we will have sun again tomorrow!

Respectfully submitted by: Marta Wallace

(Photographs: 1) The fields nearby Anshang; 2) Students and teachers on the walk; 3) Blooming rape seeds plant 4)Local Taoist Temple; 5)Abandoned cave dwellings)