More Lessons; More Discoveries in Kunming

Thought for the day: It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.  — Seneca

This saying may be appropriate for some people, but not for our Kunming Global Volunteers, who have dared to bring their culture and life experience to a group of people who are daring in their own way to gain knowledge of a foreign people who insist on saying “ih” instead of “ee” and provide fly swatters to whack on whiteboards.


Thursday began and ended with a gentle rain. We climbed the three, four, or five flights of stairs at the school to reach our classrooms, as usual. The teachers of elementary students that Kitty and I are encouraging to speak — and to listen — became talkative for the first time. We passed out menus and fake money and introduced the Restaurant Scenario to four groups of two or three “diners” and a “server” for each group; the pretend dining experience was a great success.

Jim and Mary’s class enjoyed a game of Around the World, with a wide range of questions for the person who attempted to answer before each of her opponents could speak up.

The afternoon brought more questions, this time for Esther, whose talk on parenting programs sparked a lot of interest. Jim spoke about a different area of education, presenting a look at the demographics in American schools.

Leon, Dixie, and Nancy scouted out a route to the Bird and Flower Market, observing that more old buildings have been demolished since last year in the busy area that is becoming filled with new shops, including American chains whose names are all too familiar. But the birds and bunnies and bangles still abound in a warren of tiny stalls.

Thursday’s meals brought sensory delights, as they have every day. Our bodies were well-fed with no difficulty at all, as we dared to try the continuing variety of unfamiliar foods at the porridge restaurant’s buffet and the delicious dishes ordered by our steadfast Wang Baoli.


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