China Team Journal

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"It Was a Rich Day"

by Teri Evans Calvin

It was a rich day.
Prosperity of heart and soul.
Scents of the culture,
tastes savored.

The universal smile,
bright eyes reflecting mine.
Genuine joy of breath -
exhaling life.

Hearts in rhythm,
pulsing with mine.
Tender warmth,
radiating as my own.

Strange voices,
perception nonetheless.
Cheerful sounds,
Gentle but precise.

Impatient for the sun.
Waiting for the breeze.
Delighting in the flora.
Damp rains.

The comfort of unity
like I belong –
It was a rich day -
China in my view!

A friend of mine invited me to join her in China with Global Volunteers. We both had volunteered previously, and are adventurous travelers. I researched Global Volunteers' internet site, talked to their representatives in St. Paul, MN and communicated with other volunteers with Global who had volunteered in China. I took the plunge, which was rewarded with an awesome experience.

For two weeks, Monday through Friday, I taught conversational English, pronunciation, and comprehension to students with various levels of English understanding. I tried to adjust my teaching experiences to meet their needs. Most of the students were Han Chinese from various provinces. However, one group, were Uyghurs from Xinjiang province. These Muslim students had their own language and customs, including dietary requirements. The Uyghur students are learning Mandarin, the Chinese national language, as well as English.

The administrators and students were warm, friendly and eager to share who they are. They were also very interested in Americans and our way to life. It was a living experience of a cultural exchange. We were treated with courtesy, curiosity and warmth throughout China.

I do believe that World Peace does begin through mutual international understanding, which is one of the philosophies of service with Global Volunteers. I am eager to learn more about the language, customs, history and the people of China since I have returned and have devoted my
reading to such a task.

I felt that I made a “difference” and I was gifted with a rewarding experience.