Message of the day: Each of us is accountable for our own personal development… We are also entrusted with gifts and talents to be shared with others. Global Volunteers provides a direct way to share these gifts and talents… working as volunteers can assist people from other communities and cultures in their human and economic development. A philosophy of service by President Burnham J. Philbrook, Founder of Global Volunteers
Canrolyn’s son, Andrew visits her class
On the weekend my son, Andrew, a business man came to Xi’an from Hong Kong and Guangzhou to visit me. Rain could not mar our time together which started with his first bus ride in China, visit to old city, drum tower, the Muslim market place which was full of energy, color, exotic smells, entrepreneurial enterprise and fun. The Muslim mosque was fascinating with its Chinese architecture. We got lost, took small 2 person cab, found our way looked for restaurant that would not take American credit card. Along the way a Chinese private tutor asked us to speak to his 2 small students (6, 8) who spoke quite clearly. Found buffet at hotel where restaurant manager took card to hotel so we were able to meet one, scholarly older man stopped by table, welcomed us and as we left, said goodbye and thanked US for out help in China fighting Japanese. Next day Terracotta soldiers (impressive) in morning and Jingdi tombs in afternoon. We liked the creativity of Jingdi (walking on glass to peer down in trenches and then being on eye-level to see figures of soldiers plus women, horses, utensils of everyday life.
On Monday, Andrew went with me to High-tech College at 2. Students asked him questions. Andy answered honestly, candidly, with warmth and charm. Students were sorry to see him leave at 3. Went after him et al. It was great for student to see successful businessman. In response to question of how he achieved success he encouraged them to work and study hard. I was sad when he left but finished class with game and song then stayed with 20 students for free talk.
Summary of rest of week. All but one class were 40+. After formal introduction where each spoke (My name is, how do you do, nice to meet you, welcome to China…or some combination of these phrases), students divided into 6-7 groups, each group devised 3 questions to ask me and the first hour spent answering questions, allowing me to use picture of family, post cards of New York and Larchmont, talk about where I have volunteered or worked, what my dreams as a young person were, hobbies, et al. Second part of class was game, song. With exception of one group that could not hold it together for 2nd hour the students were hardworking, involved, motivated. There was free talk for the last period in the afternoon. I had different number of students every day. Beautiful people: motivated, courageous (to talk on responsibility of speaking so much English in their “free time”, a great of charm. I could work on pronunciation one to one which was good. Truthfully, I was a bit “teary” on Thursday after free talk with 3 students and Vivi. I realized I could happily stay in China and teach at school where I met students consistently, developed relationship and we truly got to know each other.
I will miss the daily challenge of being in a different environment. I have appreciated getting to know China in a way a tourist would not experience and getting to value to the ability, spirit of helpfulness of the average Chinese people but it is also time for me to return to family responsibilities. Through the 3 weeks the support and information of Wang Baoli has been key to my feeling of security, confidence and enjoyment. Global Volunteers is lucky to have such a insightful, intelligent, patient person as their Country Director in China. You feel she is an honest person you can turn to and whose judgment you can trust. She is hardworking person whose loyalty to Global Volunteers is exemplary. I celebrate Wang Baoli!