Here is China Team 217’s team journal entry for Sunday, the team’s day of orientation and preparing to serve the students of Xi’an: April 12, 2015
Message of the Day: You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi
After a 3hr flight delay the Massachusetts portion (Kelly, Hunter, and Jody) of Team 217 arrived at Le Garden Hotel & were met by Baoli. I don’t know who was happier to see each other at that point.
At breakfast this morning we met our other teammate, Curtis, from Calif. Then we were off to the Xi’an Bio-Medical Technical College for orientation.
Later in the afternoon we returned to the school to meet with about 25 students and the English teachers. Each student introduced themselves and told us a little about their families, hobbies, and aspirations. They had carefully written out what they were going to say and tried hard not to have to read it (some were more successful than others). It appears they can write English and speak some English but have difficulty understanding the spoken word. For instance, one of the students who had written her name as part of her introduction when asked the question “what is your name?” could not answer as she didn’t understand the question. This is going to be a challenging 2 weeks but as usual, as a Global Volunteer, so much is gained by just spending time and getting to know these students.
This is kind of an unusual team. Hunter (12 year-old) has had 7 years of Mandarin at a Chinese Immersion Charter School. His mother, Kelly, is a Nurse Practitioner, and Jody, Kelly’s mother, is also a Nurse Practitioner. So we have a team of 3 generations plus a seasoned Global volunteer, Curtis.
It was quite amusing to see about 10 of the female students surrounding the 12-year-old redhead speaking Mandarin. They were fascinated by the fact that he could converse with them in their language. It will be interesting to see their interaction in English.
We were each assigned an English teacher who will be in the classroom with us. They gave us copies of the textbooks the students use & told us which chapter to prepare for. We have the feeling that it is going to be a slow process but a rewarding one.