Friday, July 23, 2010

Thoughts For The Day: If we use today well, tomorrow will take care of itself. AND Plan briefly, and act boldly.

We departed from the hotel at 8:00 a.m. and began our last classes at about 8:30. This last class lasted only until 9:50 a.m. Carol and I undertook a number of activities that would get the students to talk a good deal and added to the list of American idioms we had given them in a previous class. We also showed them some pictures of New York City and of the Amish people. (During these two weeks we have talked about a number of minority groups in the United States, and it is clear from their questions that the students were interested in those topics.) We ended with the spelling game Hangman, which we had played before and which they really liked. The very last Hangman puzzle for them to figure out was “We will miss all of you.” Actually, they figured it out very quickly. Our last class ended, as had all the previous classes, with many smiles and a great deal of enthusiasm. It was hard to realize this was the last time “our” group of students would be together with us and with each other.

All three classes and the volunteers gathered for the final ceremony. The ceremony was preceded by an exceptional collection of photographs that the University folks had taken of the students and all the volunteers over the past two weeks. We heard a series of speeches from several dignitarites, including our own Baoli, thanking the volunteers and congratulating the students on their hard work and achievements during the program. In addition, the volunteers each said a few words about what these two weeks have meant to us, and each received several very thoughtful gifts.

After the formal part of the ceremony ended, each of the three classes presented a medley of songs for the entire group. The songs were spirited, well done and very much appreciated. The volunteers, with Baoli, ended the program with our stirring renditions of “Getting To Know You” and “It’s A Small World.” (But let us be very clear that no matter what singing talents the volunteers may have exhibited, each of us knows it is important “to keep our day jobs.”) The program was followed by many pictures with students and many heartfelt goodbyes. It was a perfect ending to what has been a wonderful two weeks, for the students and certainly for the volunteers.

We returned for lunch at the hotel. During the afternoon Bob, Carol and went to the Bird and Flower Market. It was a great deal of fun (although getting a taxi to go there proved somewhat difficult). We gathered for our last dinner together at our hotel at 6:00 p.m.

This ends the Journal for Team 185. Martin, Kathy, Bob, JK, Carol and Dick, always so ably helped and organized by Baoli, became good friends; we enjoyed Kunming a great deal; we loved working with our English teacher students; and WE DID HAVE FUN. For the future, the very best to all of us, and here’s hoping that we meet again.

– Dick

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