By Becky, Claire, Dora, and Pepijn
Our service learning partner is Mr. Yang. He is 67 years old and he works as a technician who fixes clocks, watches, old radios, and other forms of technology.
His full name is 杨凤石. He married at 28 years old, and he has one son. He lives by himself mostly, but one of his brothers live right by him as well. Some things I learned about him is that he appreciates and believes in the younger generation, and wishes that they will continue to push the world forward technologically and economically.
By talking to him, I learned that even remote places like a small village in Yunnan, Xizhou, is heavily affected by the Cultural Revolution. He told us how all the young people would gather, and spread and promote Chairman Mao's thinking. He told of how the Red Guard would intrude into regular people's homes and wreck everything they deemed useless.
From Mr. Yang, I truly understood how harsh life in China was back during the 1950s. He explained how the famine caused by the Great Leap Foward had been like: no one had any strength at all, and when they became too hungry, they would drink salt water and go to sleep.
When showcasing our video, we were to sit in front of the audience instead of with them. This is for us to be able to observe the reactions of the crowd, and more importantly, the reactions of our service learning partner. The audience this time was huge: a lot of the Linden Commons guests, SAS visitors, Mr. and Mrs. Linden, and all the service learning partners and their friends. Therefor, we had to move our showcase location to Bao Cheng Fu so that we could fit all the people. Sitting at the front of the audience was a brand new experience for all of us, so it felt a little out of place at first when we had to watch the audience watch our film. However, after a while, it would dawn on us that the audience is merely another group of everyday people that came because they were interested in what our hard work turned out as, so that eased our nervous and awkward feelings a little.
When we were sitting in the chairs at the front of the room, he came right up and said: "这是我的团队。( This is my team.) ". It appears that he is really proud of us, which was a nice reward for all our hard work. At first, in the part of the video where we shared his family life, he would chuckle a little and talk with his friend next to him. During the part where we start sharing his thoughts on the Cultural Revolution and other parts of Chinese history, he became more focused and intent, nodding his head to the parts that he remembered and agreed with. Overall, I think he was pretty happy with our video, and on the way back, he even told us that he thought it should have been longer. I think he enjoyed all the attention this brought him, as he had lived a lonely life, and that he appreciates someone has documented what he experienced in the past.
Some recommendations I have for future students would be to gather as many contacts beforehand as possible. Mr. Tafel had constantly told us to make connections in the village, and that is crucial. Many, many people will turn down the offer of being a service learning partner, and that makes it necessary to have a lot of backup plans as well. Another thing that is useful will be to aid the person who is taking a little more of the load than everyone else. The two hardest tasks, in my opinion, would be the translation and editing parts. Therefor, it is important to split that work a little: divide the video and have each person translate a part, or help the person pick which clips are best when editing. The final suggestion I have will be to think carefully before creating the storyboard. The storyboard should not just be a listing of the topics that is planned to be covered, it should include the sequence of clips that narrates the story.