China Team Journal

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thought for the day: Actions speak louder than words.


After another rainy night we were treated to a pleasantly cool morning. Breakfast was followed by Lynnes journal reading; then off to Kunming University.

There we met our 16 teachers from various schools in the city and surrounding environs assembled in the 3rd floor classroom. We employed a warm-up exercise to get the adrenalin flowing. Teams made new words by changing letters in a 3-letter word. Excitement mounted to see which team had formed the most words. A short written assignment followed: describe a favorite novel, movie, or TV program and why you would recommend it to someone.

Students volunteered to read their work and there was good variety among their selections. JANE EYRE, Forest Gump, biographical sketches of Chinese notables, comedy shows, a Chinese equivalent of I've got Talent, etc. The teachers related that each selection offered advice for living, values and qualities to help get through life: perseverance, strength of character, humor, etc. Other activities included charades and practicing our song for the afternoon session. Several teachers requested work with the pronunciation of difficult English sounds such as the zhu in usually, bed vs. bad, t vs. d and so on. Why study English?. . a question teachers often have to deal with, was discussed followed by their questions about the US.

Lunch restored our energy reserves and we returned to campus. Lynn gave an overview of the work of Project Helping Hands which sends medical missions to many countries. She related her experience in Bolivia where volunteer medical personnel from the US joined Bolivian doctors and translators to bring health care to poor mountain villages near Cochabamba yearly. Also their assistance has enabled some villages to become self-sufficient. Her presentation generated interest in bringing such a program to China.

Anne then directed a program of songs led by the volunteers and team leader. The local teachers participated with gusto, especially in the rounds. Warrenes rendition of Sheell be comine round the mountain., complete with gestures, rated an encore. We adjourned to the outside patio area and, to the delight of several older women and other on-lookers, we sang a few more songs and Warren led us in the Hokey-Pokey. For dinner we returned to the din of the restaurant we affectionately call Chipped Plate Special.. There we enjoyed dumplings and other delectable dishes.

This was the night we had tickets for a special show. Dynamic Yunnan.. With our address cards in hand and with the help of a bell-boy, we piled into cabs and headed for the theater.

Choreography based on dances of the Dai, Yi, and Han minorities conveyed aspects of their life, customs and religious beliefs. These performances were mesmerizing and often humorous. From the opening dramatic scene featuring (loud) precision drumming , elaborately costumed singers and vigorous dancing to the elegant and graceful Peacock dance finale, the audience sat enthralled. Catching a cab to the hotel was easier than expected and we all retired after a productive and stimulating day .