Saturday, April 18, 2009

Trip to Zhuanghe

Recently, I accompanied a small group of teachers to a small village school near the city of Zhaunghe. We went to deliver some school supplies and money from the Blue Phoenix, a charity that is run by the Chinese wife of one Maple Leaf teacher. Before we went to the school, we stopped by the village that her family was sent to for 're-education' during the Cultural Revolution.

It was fantastic to visit a small village with someone that knew the people. Everyone in the village was incredibly hospitable and interested in the group of foreigners that had suddenly appeared in their midst.

Here is Fairy with a couple that she knew from so long ago

A wonderful old lady that I was able to chat with

Many people came out to invite us in to see their well-kept homes

After visiting the village, we moved on to the school where the students had gathered, on a Saturday, to meet with the forign teachers that had come. I went into a classroom of grade 4 students with my vice-principal and we taught them some games and I entertained them with my broken Chinese. For most of them, we were the first foreigners that had ever met, and I was certainly the first foreigner they had ever heard speaking Chinese. It was a lot of fun; the 'hokey-pokey' translates into every language!

The school had all the pictures of the 'Heros', starting with Marx, moving through Lenin, Sun Yat-Sen, Mao Zedong, Zhu De, Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin.

After 'class', we took all the students outside to play some games and teach them how to use the sports equipment that we had brought. They absolutely loved learning to play games like 'duck, duck, goose', which I renamed 'mao, mao, gou' (cat, cat, dog) because I didn't know the Chinese words for duck and goose. Nobody had ever formally played with the students before; in China, PE usually consists of runs, marching, and tai ji.

We finished up with a backwards relay race (try explaining that in broken Chinese) before teaching them some fundamentals of soccer, basketball and volleyball. Afterward, we attempted to follow along with their choreographed exercises. We really connected with the kids and I plan to go back to both the village and school whenever I can.

1 comment:

  1. Now, that looks like a wonderful interaction between very divergent cultures. I can understand why you would like to spend more time connecting with the more rural communities. I look forward to my next trip to visit so I can participate in these ventures (adventures?).