China Team Journal

Friday, May 14, 2010

Volunteering includes 'A Day in the Park…’

I have been to Xi’an, China two times with the Global Volunteers. The first under the guidance of Hu Di, the second under the guidance of Wang Baoli. I have spent both these years at the High Technology University. The English department professors are wonderful group to work with. Lei Shurya was our leader with Miao Rong, Li Dong and the others. They took great care of us, letting us spend time with their students, who came from all parts of China. Taking us to see some of the great things to see in Xi'an.

As much as I have enjoyed the time with them and their students, there is another part of this adventure that, to me, has been as great a pleasure. It is the people I have met in the parks near the Sino Pearl and Empress hotels where we stayed. The hotels are very close to two large parks, the Xingqinggong Park and the park by the south wall near the Hucheng River.

A cup of tea with two opera singers, a conversation with the dentist, a couple who let me watch their wedding, a conversation with 3 young children, yes they could speak some English. A group that wanted their pictures taken with us. A young girl practicing her instrument, the man who let me fly his kite. The man who let me use his whip to keep the top spinning. The trip to the Famen Temple with Lei Shuya. The five 12-year-olds who stopped to talk for about one hour. The camera club from Jiao Tong University.

Li Xia, whom I met on my first trip to China, we have become very good friends. Five girls who were in my class the first year, had lunch and a great conversation with them. Conversations with a group of students from another High Tech College. Amy, a student from another college who sat in on my classes. Students in the park doing a sketching assignment. There are so many more that I have met and talked to.

Then there is Niu Shuai Hang (Alice) who came up to me to practice her English, she is 13 years old. She was in the park with her mother on a Sunday afternoon. We spent 3 hours talking and walking through the park and the beautiful campus of the Jiao Tong University. We were going to meet again, but our schedules did not permit it. We do e-mail each other. Can you imagine how I feel when I do get that occasional e-mail from her and the first words I read are “Hi Grandpa.”
There are wonderful opportunities to meet so many people. You do not go to the park to meet people, you go to the park so they can meet you. Looking forward to October 2010.

~ Fred Powell