China Team Journal

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A change in plans

We were up and prepared for a half-day tour of a replica of a village for this area of China. Our hopes and dreams were shattered after breakfast when our leader Wang Baoli called to inform us that the trip was cancelled. It had rained all night and the dirt roads were impossible. With no alternatives, we stayed in the hotel, assessing our “belongings” and packing them into our suitcases. We had lunch with Baoli and son and later her husband came and they took Phyllis out shopping. Tomorrow at 7 a.m. we will meet Baoli, her husband, and her son and visit Baoli’s husband’s work place and Exposition Park.

Entry submitted by: Dick

Message for the Day: If you do not live it, you do not believe it. – Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A special farewell program

Today was a special day! Although the rain greeted us in the morning, it turned out to be a sunny day. We kept our morning class schedule, helping the students with pronunciation of nursing terms and health questions asked at a visit to the doctor’s office. After our class was over, some of us were given a tour of the campus which included the sports field, communication center, dormitories, and cafeteria.

It was a special day because a farewell program was held in a big assembly hall. It was also the last day of school for the week because of the Autumn Festival celebration. The Global Volunteers trio was introduced and each of us had to make a brief introduction of ourselves. After that it was questions and answer time, followed by talent performances of dancing and singing by some students. Julia and Baoli joined the trio in singing “What Aloha means.” The Urghur students got up to do their native dance and pulled us up to dance with them. It was fun! What a grand way to end our service adventure.

Before we left the college campus, the college president presented each of us a Chinese Scroll – a picture taken from the wall of an ancient cave - and a Chinese Poem. Mahalo Nui Loa to all!

Entry submitted by: Thelma

Message for the Day: “Yellow Gold has its price. Learning is priceless.” - Chinese Proverb

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A full day of teaching

Today is our long day. We began teaching at 8:30 a.m. and ended our day at 5 p.m. Our day began by teaching nursing students. We all used their workbooks. We went through their new word list, reviewed last weeks work, sang, and did whatever we thought was needed. We then spoke to 200 – 300 first-year students. We all shared our names and what we did. The one hour was not enough time for them to ask questions. We needed to cut our introduction time so the students would have more time. We enjoyed a very large lunch of various Chinese dishes. In the afternoon we taught the Wicker students again. They were easier to teach. They participated more and their pronunciation of English words was good. We all had an easier and enjoyable time with the Wicker students. This was a good way to end our long school day. We all were too tired to think of shopping. The old guys ate dinner, took a bath, and hit the hay. 

Entry submitted by: Phyllis

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hundreds of dumplings at Lily's house

This morning class was to be with the English club members. We were told it would be voluntary attendance and it would be a surprise as to who would come. Last Monday we had eight students. Today we had two students.

Thelma and Phyllis worked with them doing individual reading of some simple children’s books which we brought, in English, of course. This went on until about 10:15 a.m. Then after a break, the group shifted gears. From then until 11 a.m. the group worked with crafts and conversational English. Phyllis did paper folding or origami and ended up teaching knot tying for buttons on clothes. Thelma then led the group in making soda cap leis with the objective of conservation and keeping the landfill as empty as possible. The two girls embraced the idea of the ribbon soda cap leis with enthusiasm.

Shortly after 11 a.m. we left for Lily’s apartment via an auto ride in Jules’s car. There Lily, her mother, another staff person, and a student were making dumplings. Phyllis jumped in to help. They made literally hundreds for lunch. When they were cooked, we sat down to a lunch of dumplings, string beans, lotus roods, and noodles. There were two kinds of dumplings: vegetable and pork. The meal was very good, but for us the dipping sauce of vinegar, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce was a little rough on our “southern Chinese” palates. The dumplings tasted good without the sauce for us.

We spent the rest of time with them, chatting, singing, and sharing with them Mac Nut covered chocolate candy which we brought from home. We returned to the hotel via the school ar.

Entry submitted by: Dick

Message of the Day: As I was tucking my son in bed one night I said “Try, I love you! He replied “I do, too.” I teasingly said “No, you don’t?” He said “Yes, Mommy, I do.” “How do you know it’s love?” I asked. He responded “I’m not really sure what love is, but you make my heart smile!” I then realized, without a doubt, he understood love better than most adults.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The more students the merrier!

After a night of thunder, lightning, and rain, the morning shone bright and sunny. During our morning session our Global Volunteers trio became a duet when Phyllis left for a weekend destination.

Dick met his new students by introducing himself and showing his family album, including pastimes activity and observations of special events. Then he worked with them on calendar words, names of the month, and days of the week. Next was using the student’s text book to help on pronunciation of medical terms and usage words.

Facing a class of new faces, I greeted them with “Aloha” and a short introduction of myself and where I live. My question - how can I help the students? The teacher then told me to go over the new words and expressions listed in the textbook. By this time, our class size had increased with Phyllis’s class joining ours. Ha! The more the merrier. We managed to finish this page and started with new words on the next page.

Entry submitted by: Thelma

Message for the Day: “An inch of gold may be lost. A lost inch of time, never.” - Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A warm welcome from Principal Liu

Dick, Thelma, Phyllis, and Baoli began the day at school by walking the three to four flights of stairs to their classroom as there is no elevator. We began climbing and singing "Climb, Climb up Sunshine Mountain" to distract us from our first task of the day. When we reached the third floor, we were informed we needed to go to the principal's office. We were not sure what to expect. To our surprise there was a friendly, warm man to greet us, Principal Liu. Principal Liu welcomed us and shared his appreciation for our volunteering in his school. Also, if I am not mistaken it is Principal Liu’s private car and driver who transport us to and from our hotel to school daily. What a wonderful way for the three volunteers to start their day. 

This morning we had the HNC1 students. All of us used their nursing manual. We helped them with their pronunciation and clarification/definition of the words in their text book. Of course each day can't go by without singing and sharing of our own heritage and theirs. Our day ended with a nap then shopping. I'm happy I found a new Alaska fishing raincoat. My six-year-old raincoat crashed this year and I got soaked and wet. We are still looking for Thelma’s cassette player and Phyllis’ terra cotta soldiers. Now for dinner and bed.

Entry submitted by: Phyllis 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A special day for teachers

It is a special day for teachers. For us, the day began as usual with a big breakfast at the hotel. The three musketeers left for school and began their days with one third of the two-year nursing students. The students were basically quiet, but answered our questions and could pronounce the words fairly well. In my class we practiced “How are you?” and “How do you feel?” We did some round singing of “The more we get together” and getting to know you. We also did some energy work and simple massage. I passed out the sheets with suffixes and prefixes. Dick had fun in his class sharing his Chinese history in Hawaii. He helped them pronounce the words from their nursing text book. Of course the retired minister shared his singing ability with the group, too. As a teacher, Thelma is most capable to help the students with conversational English. She helped them with the pronunciation of the words in their nursing text book and happy songs. We had to stay in our school to be available for the afternoon classes. Julia, Pan Pan, and Baoli took us to lunch at a restaurant across the street. We had a very tasty and popular Muslim dish called “beef or mutton soup with bread.” The most exciting part of lunch break was crossing a street with heavy traffic to get to the restaurant and back to school. We will be teaching another group this afternoon. The classes will be with the Urghur group. Now our day has ended and we are heading back to our hotel and dinner.

Entry submitted by: Phyllis 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Our first day working with students

Rise and shine! We were up early so that we could all make it to breakfast and have time to get ready for our first day with students. Since Monday and Sunday are the school’s weekend, those who would come today were volunteers wanting to learn English and wondering what these new volunteers are like.

We started at 8:00 a.m. with three students so it was decided for the three of us to work with them individually after doing introductions. Well, it started that way after introductions, but soon others joined the group until we had eight or ten students. We then broke up into three groups. Thelma and I took our students to the office and worked with the kids together.

Entry submitted by: Dick

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Our first work day

Today was our first day in Xi’an. It began with a buffet breakfast at the leisure hour of 7:45 a.m. We knew that the next few days would be different - leisure hours will be different and rare and 6 a.m. call ups will surely arouse us from our peaceful slumber.

Our introduction from our leader, Wang Baoli, was to meet at 12:30 a.m. for lunch. Lunch was served by smiling waitresses and was more than acceptable. In fact, it was good. Good ordering, “Madam Leader.”

At 2 p.m. we were off to the school where we will be teaching. We went through the goals and objectives and the other assignments that Global Volunteers sets for all programs.

We then met some volunteer students who welcomed us to the school. We introduced ourselves and they did the same with some hesitation and bashfulness on their part. They sang some songs for us in both Chinese and English. The students were great but shy. We closed with the leader telling us about them. What I forgot to say was that a teacher in the school brought her 5-year-old daughter, who sang a song for us. Of course we all applauded her effort.

We enjoyed dinner at 6:30 p.m. which ended with the question of “Who will do the journal?” Reluctantly I did. So ends the first “work” day.

Entry submitted by: Dick

Message of the Day:Everyone has noted the astounding source of energy that seems available to those who enjoy what they are doing. The self-renewing man knows that if he has not great conviction about what he is doing, he had better find something that he can have great conviction about!” - John Cardner in Self-Renewal