While it had only been 72 hours since we left Tianjin, to me it seemed we have been there a week. The bright blue clear morning sky was speaking to us about the day ahead.
Before the Race – Deaf Industries Center
First we visited a business started to support the skills and industry of deaf-mute people in the area. These people are typically disadvantage as their intelligence and abilities are severely underestimated. A couple of foreigners came here several years ago and have since established a self-supporting business in building furniture, clothing, and other giftware. They are currently challenged by a law that requires their factory’s neighborhood to be demolished. We are pr-ying for the huge expense of moving, not to mention loss of productivity during that transition.
This Race was so fun! Reminded me of the television reality show Amazing Race. If only there was a camera man following our conversations and experiences, I’m sure you would find our adventure interesting. Here are all the things we did:
- Asked an old man to teach us a Chinese song
- Attended a class at one of Kunming’s Universities
- Bought flowers and gave them to a Chinese who did us a favor.
- Donated a portion of our spending money to a beggar girl who had no legs.
- At dinner we ate boiled peanuts and street corn (none of us had these before today).
- Found out from a street sweeper how much they made (and gave him a sandwich).
- Got a picture of our group in front of a state church building.
- Gave a snack to a child without schoes
- Got a picture of a trilingual sign.
- Helped an old lady cross the road.
- Stopped at a barber shop an got a Chinese-style hairdo.
- We organized a simple English corner for Chinese students.
- Participted in some old people’s gymnastics in a park
- Taught soem elementry kids an English son.
- Visited a Chinese Kindergarten and took pictures with the children as a group
- Interviewed a minority woman carrying her child to find out how she got to the city and what she was doing.
As a teacher my role was only to chaperon the team’s hunt, however it was difficult for me to stay completely in the background.
Some thoughts about the students in my group…
In my team I was surprised that how well the group worked together. Despite each student being stretched in areas of weakness, they shined in their own way.
Jason kept accounting of the money (we had a budget of only 40 dollars handling translation duties as his Chinese is really good.
Jinny handled the map and most of the talking. She seems normally shy but came out of her shell today. She is Korean but has a gift for communication. This was proved out time and time again when people would listen and answer without asking for clarification. Especially going from province to province this is a rare thing especially knowing that she is a foreigner.
While Karen is a novice in Chinese, her outgoing personality made up for it. She never hesitated asking questions or directions from Chinese people. She is confident and so easy to work with she fit in quiet well.
Jed is especially logical quickly assessing alternative paths and talking through the best solution with the team.
Ike gave off energy to the group – sort of a passion for the win – not to mention giving a good dose of humor. He seemed to be the best kind of lookout noticing many items before the rest of us.
Michelle managed the list, providing us continuous updates of what we had completed and what was left. She reminded us of things to look out for and was good at balancing the discussion of “what next” with valuable input and assessments.)