China Team Journal

Monday, July 14, 2008

Team 161, Kunming, July 1

By Rhonda

Thought for the Day: If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.

Photo for the Day: Rhonda and John with one of their students.

It seems that every culture and religion aerates rituals many in the form of celebrations, holidays or festivals, I think it is a common way we have of recognizing a season, a new beginning, an ending or passing.

Today, Hu Di spoke to us of 2 important Chinese festivals: The Spring Festival, Guo Nian, and the Pure Festival, Quing Ming , I think Guo Nian is like New Year in America. It is a true when the Chinese "get over the year", leave the bad behind. There is all sorts of customs, or we may them superstitions. For the 1st 3days, no one is to take medicine or bad luck will come in the year. Also, kids must not say 'death' and no one is to throw any garbage away because that would be like throwing away Prosperity and Fortunately. There is a term limit to this.

The real Spring Festival however is Qing Ming, students take off from school to sweep the ancestor's tombs. Relatives also burn paper money at graves so their ancestors have money to spend. I like that to take time to honor and remember who came before us and give the youngsters an opportunity to connect with the past , which is something we seem to separate more in America.

This is my second time as Global Volunteer and third time to teach in China. As usual, when entering the classroom, I learn more from the students about what they have overcome just to get here. I hear their stories and their speeches for our Global Volunteers newer ritual, "The Speech Festival". Perhaps someday our teacher-student children will participate in this newest celebration ¦and perhaps our children will want to celebrate with them! Xie Xie.