China Team Journal

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Team 161, Kunming, June 29

By John

Thought for the Day:
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her only leaf is a flower;
But only for a hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
---Robert Frost, 1923

Photos for the Day: 1) John is saying with his dear students and teaching partner Rhonda. 2) Peacock dance at Dynamic Yunnan, a local primitive performance show.

So much has happened since last the previous Sunday when team building took place, and after a busy week. Our Team as a whole has achieved more than we expected. Of particular note, we have contributed to a set of goals established by the United Nations. They are known as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Specifically we have done the following:

MDG #2: Achieve universal primary education: -helped 68 Chinese English teachers with their conversational English skills – providing 260 hours in classroom teaching plus 260 hours of lesson prep time.

Today was restful although the weather warmed up yesterday and remained so today according to Dixie’s weather report, the temperature was over 80 F. This morning, Corrine, Margaret, Glenda, Tim and I walked to a Catholic Church mass conducted by the Bishop. The ritual was familiar: two readings from the Bible, either old or new testaments, a gospel’s reading followed by a sermon, which proved to be long. There were incense, music, and singing. We recognized melodies of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”, “Be Loving in the Wind” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. There was no wine served at communion and no collection. A small child across from us played while adults tried to keep her content. Of course, all words were in Chinese.

At breakfast, martin described his “purchase” (not thought) of the day, a tote bag that folds into a small item. At dinner of the day, Kathleen informed us of the “Flying Tigers” of WWII here in Kunming.

Hu Di and Glenda visited with a former global volunteer teacher who has been teaching here for one year. Corrine continued her reunion with the esteemed Mr. Ma. Joshua, after giving me a computer lesson, played with Bird ( a hotel western restaurant waiter).

Tim, Rhonda, Margaret and Carole went by taxi to the Yunnan Nationalities Village.

Leon abd Dixie found time to enjoy Green Lake Park. At dinner, we heard two journals, Corrine from Friday and Dixie from Saturday. Then we were off to Dynamic Yunnan, a performance of primitive minorities groups with dramatic use lighting, sound, dance, music, and song, culminating with a spectacular peacock dance. The image reflected the role ritual, tradition and beauty playing in a culture.