Friday September 24, 2010

Thought for the day: Xian is now part of us, and who knows? We may be an English-speaking part of some Xian students’ lives.

Team 187’s final day volunteer-teaching in Xian brought rain and grey skies. The van ride to campus was swift, thanks to light holiday traffic. The bike and motor scooter masses were clad in many colored ponchos. Rain and the harvest holiday didn’t halt work at construction sites. At one, a laborer, like tens of thousands before him, patiently waited as his hefty woven backpack basket was filled with wet sand to be carried up to the masons high above. We saw preparations underway for several weddings.

Marcella and I began class with the nursery rhyme: Rain, rain, go away, come again another day — more tough words for students to pronounce.

I asked my students to describe their dream home some years after college. One young man wanted an apartment with many rooms in a high rise building and a yellow Ferrari. Some of us had a mix of nursing and Uighur students. Lively sessions.
Afterwards, another cordial exchange with local teachers. We continued to advise them of errors in the answer guide for their test manuals.

College president “Robinson” Liu Jin Tian and his always cheerful wife Julia hosted us to another multiple-course lunch and far ranging conversation, including general agreement that the US and China should stop worrying about any threat posed by the other and join in finding solutions to our energy problems. Robinson said private colleges do not receive government financial help, but students can qualify for aid. He expressed his appreciation for our GV service for his students and spoke of his desire to use his college also to build friendship between Uighur and Han students.

Afterwards, Julia invited us to group teach a physical education class how to play baseball — indoors because of the rain. We probably set the sport back 50 years, but the students had a rousing good time. Maggie, Marcella, Claudia and Wally demonstrated jitterbug and swing dance steps to Bill Haley’s “Rock around the Clock” and the twist to Chubby Checker’s classic. Later, Uighur students again glided into their graceful ethnic dance, followed by a female Han student who gave a stunningly muscular hip-hop performance. Julia led a moving chorus of “We Are One World.
Student requests to have their picture taken with us strung out our farewell from campus for 45 to 60 minutes.

Back at the hotel for our GV farewell dinner, it was a similar occasion of mixed emotions — happy to have finished our service, a little sad to part from our new friends. Much praise for our team leader Baoli. Then off to pack for morning departures.

– Tony

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