China Team Journal

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Team 181 Week Three (Mar 21-27)

Six volunteers on TEAM 181 contributed the following towards the “UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”
MDG 2: Achieve universal primary education
: 296 hours of conversational English instruction to 860 Chinese students and 2 hours to 9 local English teachers.
MDG 4: Reduce child mortality: Office materials worth of 449CNY (66USD) to our community partner Xi’an La La Shou Special Education School to improve the learning environment of the children.

Friday March 26, 2010 -Our Last Hurrah!

Johannes is always the first one at the breakfast table but Alice was making a monumental effort to make it before Johannes. After Breakfast, we hurried downstairs to greet Lisa who came to ride with us to the school on the last day.

Morning class went good. Good small class and most seemed happy to be with me. Then after a bit, a few more arrived that I hadn’t seen before, but what could I do. I learned soon that some of these late arrivals were in my class earlier as they quickly produced answers to my questions. I played Uno with this group for the first time and they enjoyed it too. Now, another final wave of late comers arrived with their teacher. One of these students was my favorite student and singer. She brought a handicapped boy who didn’t know much English but wanted to come, so she was constantly interpreting for him. After class, I walked out with this boy and at first he was to nervous to speak. Maqi, the singing student, quickly explained to me that she wanted to help this boy and so brought him to my class. How could I question her heart? This girl will go far, I hope.

Before my class ended, one eager boy, had to excuse himself because he said he had to work in the canteen. I told him I would be eating in the canteen today. So as we walked into the cafeteria, I was escorted to the front window, where Sunshine and Martina helped me order. I told them I coulld eat anything, so they order soup, with vegetables and pork and tofu. Then my student came out and he was so happy to see me. He had on his apron and white cap on. His face was beet red. He was so thrilled to help me and I was so happy to see him too. Later, he brought the food out and it was very tasty. The only thing I couldn’t figure out was that the bowl was lined with plastic.

Later, I walked upstairs to see the second and third floor. Lisa accompanied me because they either worry about me getting lost or maybe they only want me to have only the censored tour. I have seen it all. Upstairs there were far fewer students but different food. Then we went to the third floor which really surprised me. It is a computer lab with at least 300 computers and a huge roomful of students playing computer games, chatting, or watching movies. They pay 2 yuan per hour to do this. I looked like a pretty equipped lab. The manager seemed eager to show me the door. I think this is a private company which has some sort of contract with the school.

Downstairs again, I found my tree planting student. I only saw him last Wednesday and I was promised a tour of his dorm and room. So he told me we could go now to his room. Lisa again accompanied me to his dorm. Talking to him on the way, I found his English ok so when we got inside the dorm, he told us that his room was on the 6th floor.. Lisa asked him twice which floor as we began climbing stairs. I heard him both times and I was determined to get there now, even if it meant climbing up 6 flights. Inside his room, which was small, there were beds(cots or bunk bed type) for 8 but only six were being used. There was a small desk with a mirror and goldfish bowl with one fish. Each student has a locker, which contains his books and a few clothes. Other than that, the room was bare. I think it must be very cold in these rooms at night because they have no heat and few blankets. There is only one dorm for the boys as there are more girls that go to this school.

My last class of the day was a surprise too. All new students. I hadn’t seen them before but they all looked at me with their smiling faces and seemed prepared to listen to my every word. After class ended they didn’t want to leave so I had to escort them to the door. They thanked me for coming and told me to come back again.

Then, the volunteers met with the English teachers for the last time. It was very hard to say goodbye. Many were very emotional and gave us big hugs, wonderful small gifts, and wrote some very kind words about us. This is a very good school with lots of caring and enthusiastic staff. It is very hard to leave. Now, I want to stay longer. But as my father used to say “all good things come to an end”.

In the evening at the hotel, we met with BaoLi one last time. That was difficult too. She has been a wonderful leader and such a terrific person too. I would like to come back here again but I know you can’t relive an experience like this. Maybe next time I will try Kunming. China is a big country and there is lots I would like to see and do here but it is like a cocoon too. I can see this part of the world changing rapidly.

Safe travels to All!!