China Team Journal

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)