China Team Journal

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.