Apr 22

Day 2 – Report from 2014 Trip Team Leaders Jackie and Peter

Hi all,
Here are updates from yesterday.  Thanks to everyone for your encouraging works.  Peter and I feel fortunate to spend this week with your children who are all responsible and mature.  Thank you!
We will send/upload some pictures when we have time.  The agenda is jam packed so we haven’t had a chance.
Jackie & Peter
Day 2 – 4/22
“Amazing” was the word used by the girls to describe how good it felt to be able to take a shower, finally.  The school installed 2 small hot water heater and shower heads last night in 2 of the dorm bathrooms downstairs just for us so that we can conveniently take private showers.   Anticipating the showers, the kids beat the roosters today and got up as early as before 5:00am.  Some went for a run at the Athletic field first and some rushed to line up for the showers.  It was a nice day today with mild temperature and a cool breeze.  So we were all refreshed and looked forward to the day ahead.
After a rice noodle breakfast, all arrived at the classroom building and started a long morning of 4 classes.  With yesterday’s experience under their belt, each group did a fantastic job in giving their presentations and conducting Q&As at their classes.  You can hear loud cheering from various classrooms which makes those classrooms that have not gotten their turn very envious.  The teachers got asked by a lot of their students when the “foreign kids” (wai guo hai zi) are coming to their classroom to teach.  Fans are accumulating speedily and nick names related to “super” started surfacing.  I won’t go into detail but will let the kids tell the stories when they are back home.  All are innocent and cute.

Our kids got a taste of what hard work is.  Four hours of teaching with only short breaks in between is a normal schedule for teachers here.  We learned to appreciate our teachers (at least in China).  After the morning classes, we had a tasty lunch to recharge. Most kids don’t know how to handle the small whole fish with lots of bones so Peter and I were the lucky ones to devour most of it.  The kids made friends with their neighboring dorm room kids and other students eating at the dining hall.  They had a nice conversation with them learning about each other after lunch.  It was followed up with a badminton play off.  Everyone gave it a try and Brian made us proud with his fast smashes and overhead!
In the afternoon, we went on a sightseeing trip to a local temple in the mountains.  The school contact Liu Shu Ji, a security guard, and 2 other teachers accompanied us.  We got on a small bus which took us up the mountain on a winding village road.  The road was very narrow but our driver was an experienced one so it wasn’t an issue.   The kids were snapping pictures of the beautiful southern China countryside scenes with green rice patties, blue mountains and rythemic springs flowing down from the mountains.  We were only 3 kilometers from the temple but got stuck behind a disabled truck full of bamboos.  Instead of waiting for the truck to get going, the group decided to walk on foot.  It was the best decision ever as we were able to get up and close with the bamboos, chickens with baby chicks at the village, and insects with rainbow color backs that looked “foreign”.  When we came upon some farm dogs, we gave the kids a stern warning that everyone was to be quiet, slow and non-agitating unless they want to get rabbies.  And that did it.  We swiftly walked past the dogs and soon reached the temple at the mountain top. The temple is called Dragon Charity temple “long ji si” which was built more than a thousand years ago in 904 by buddiest monks.  Given its age, it is understandable that it went through many wars and natural disasters so the original buildings were damaged throughout the centuries.  There were some re-builds and repairs but overall it looked fairly orginally.  Lots of buddas and buddiest gods in the temple.   Some of us asked for our fortunes “qiu qian”.

We walked down the mountain on another side and met up with the bus at the foot of the mountain near a village.  It was tiring but the serene scenary along the way made it all worth it.  One of the teachers found a huge fresh bamboo shoot tall as a person and carried it down the mountain for us to bring to the dining hall chefs to cook for us at dinner.   We were not disapppointed, the bamboo dish served at dinner was organically delicious!  We have the before and after picture of the bamboo shoot that we will share when we have a chance to upload them.
Tonight’s activity was to perform with the YiZhong students.  It was more of a fun party than just performance.  All kids sang, danced, had fun games and took pictures to keep and cherish.  One of the Yizhong kids performed “Hu Lu Si”, a traditional Chinese musical instructment that looks like a squash “Hu Lu”.  It was really impressive.  In addition to all the group performance that our kids had prepared,  Michael performed an improvised break dance which drew cheers from the entire audience.  Emily, Sophia and Savanah performed the theme song of the Titanic.  All did a beautiful job.  Isabella won one of the White Raddish Squat “bai luo bo dun” game beating out the YiZhong students.  The party was ended with more hugs and pictures.
We walked back to the dorm still singing…
Jackie & Peter