Updated 3 years 5 months ago

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Our service learning partner was named Mrs. Yang Xiu Lian and she is almost 70 years old. She was born in Xizhou and has lived here her whole life as a farmer. She has no siblings or children, and lives alone right next of Si Fang Jie.


We learned a significant amount of information about our elder as a result of this experience. She was very welcoming to us and was willing to answer any questions we had. During the time of the Great Leap Forward, she and her dad had to survive on around 48 KG of food for a whole year. Also during the Cultural Revolution, she was part of a propaganda team that dance and sang songs about Chairman Mao. She taught us how it is crucial to keep a positive attitude no matter what challenges are being faced.


Talking to Mrs. Yang taught us a lot about Xizhou’s history. Although Xizhou is a small town, it has a very long and complicated past. The Great Leap forward and the Cultural Revolution were very prominent events in Xizhou’s history, and the effects of these events are still seen today. 


During our conversations with Mrs. Yang, she shared with us her viewpoints on all the historical events in China that happened during the 20th century. She taught us about the Cultural Revolution, Great Leap Forward and other smaller events in history. Although these events caused struggle and hardship in her life and the lives of others, her life is better now, and that is all that matters. 


In the Service Learning sharing experience, we had a chance to invite local villagers of Xizhou to Yang Zhuo Ran to watch our final Service Learning video products. After hosting them with tea and snacks, the presentations went on in a comfortable atmosphere. Althoug Ms. Yang could not come to the sharing event because she is at Xia Guan, we are still really glad to have the chance to share our learning results with the other students, teachers, and villagers. The unique aspect of this presentation is that we can not watch our own videos with the audiences. We need to sit on a bench at the front of the room and watch the reactions of our audiences when they watch our video, which was certainly a very ineresting experience. 


When our video first played, many local villagers recognized our Service Learning partner. It was really nice to know that they know her already, and this video may let them know her better from another aspect. It was also a completely new experience to twach the audeience's expressions change with the emotions of the video. When Ms. Yang talked about the happy times of her life or her hobbies, I could see the smile on everyone's face. The local villagers who knew laughed and chatted as Ms. Yang talked about her life stories which they may not have heard about before. When Ms. Yang talked about the more depressing times in her life, the audience's expressions became more serious and focused. I could clearly tell that the audiences were drawn in by Ms. Yang's interesting story and paid full attention to the video. It was a relief to hear the applause of the audience and see their fascinated expressions. I feel like my efforts were appreciated. 


For this service learning project, I have a few recommendations for future groups. First, find your partner early. This will ensure that you have enough time to get lots of great footages. However, at the same time, prepare for plans B to L because you never know what your service learning partner's schedule or plans are like, and you always have to respect their choices. Second, If they have any special talents, ask them to show you. Our Service Learning partner was part of a  propaganda team that sang and dance during the Cultural Revolution. After we shared this with Mr. T, ( and our time for recording was up), he mentioned how a video of her singing or dancing could have been so beneficial to our final video. Third, make your video about a story. Find what ever is important to your service learning partner, and make the whole video about that. Our video was about Mrs. Yangs positive outlook and happiness, but there is so many different direction we could have taken this video. 

My name is Stella R. I am an 8th grader at Shanghai American School Pudong campus who already returned from Xizhou as a member of the Revival group. The 27 days Microcampus adventure was truly one of the most fascinating experiences I have ever had. I will not forget about the beautiful environment with the clean air, green lands, and blue sky, the welcoming village full of cultural and historical values, and the challenging opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself in many aspects. This may be the end of the 4 weeks long journey, but it is the start of something brand new.