For service learning each group picked an elder living in the local community in XiZhou to interview. You can find our video attached above. Our elders name was Ma Guo Hua. He is 70 years old and owns the antique shop next to SiFang Jie. from Dali Old Town but has been living in XiZhou for the past 2 years. He grew up in a very poor family and had to leave home to find work at age 12. I found that the one of his major beliefs is that: "as long as you have clothes on your body, a roof over your head and food to eat, you are well off". From this expierience I learned that XiZhou and Dali have had a hard past. Times were very hard and many people were unable to afford their daily needs. I also found out that many people benefited from reform and opening (改革开放), including Mr. Ma because it has allowed them to open their own businesses to earn a living. I also learned that this was the case in most of China. Gai Ge Kai Fang benefited those in poverty and was detrimental to the affluent. I also found out out that China went through the most change in the 1950s. In China, many people do not believe that it will go through any more major changes in the near future.
It was a wonderful feeling when we showed Mr. Ma out service learning video. He was smiling the whole time and complementing it. He was so thankful that we had recorded his story and thoughts. He said that it will always be here, sharing his thoughts, even when he is gone. He could not stop thanking us which put a smile on all of our faces especially since he had been so skeptical when we started.
Mr. Ma did find the need to defend some of his points as he was watching which I found very interesting. Everytime he made a strong point in the movie he would say "it is! It is!" and give and give an explaination why. I also noticed that he just could not believe what we had made. When we shared the movie with him, we brought a bag of apples and a bag of bananas. He said was so thankful for the movie that he could not accept the gift, it was to much. It took ten minutes, but in the end we managed to convince him to keep the fruit. I was really happy he liked the movie, especially after how much work went into it.
Some suggestions I have for future microcampus students doing Service learning are:
1) Make sure you have at least one filming of your partner before Day 12, as this will take the stress off of making the movie in time.
2) Make sure to have everyone supporting the person translating the movie, little things go a long way.
3) make sure you have established a really good connection with your partner (videotaped them two or three times already) before asking any personal/history related questions.