Updated 1 year 2 months ago

By Sunny, Josie, Sonia, and Anders. 

Our Service Learning partner was Mr. Li. He is 76 years old and was a farmer. In his free time, he does "印刷" which is printing on paper that will be burned in funerals. Mr. Li has two sons and two daughters. 

As a result of this experience, I learned about Mr. Li's most jubilant memories which were his childhood because he was carefree and did not have to worry about life troubles. Mr. Li believes that childhood is the most pleasant time of an individual's life and that carefreeness is a gift every child is given growing up since the parents take care of everything else and that the only job kids have is to learn. 

I learned more about Xizhou's history after conversations with Mr. Li about how the Great Leap Forward and Mao's death directly impacted the families of Xizhou, including his. The Great Leap Forward was a movement and China was trying to develop, as a result, there were production teams and communes which got everyone together to work hard. His family was also deeply involved in the propaganda during the Cultural Revolution, and even to this day, the propaganda painted on his house walls are preserved and remained. 

Mr. Li taught my Service Learning group and I about 20th-century Chinese history when he showed us newspapers of Xi Jin Ping and his speeches. He talked to us about how he has no political doctrines on the subject of Xi Jin Ping because there is enormous news about Xi Jin Ping because it is complicated due to the innumerable opposing perspectives and attitudes towards Xi Jin Ping. 

The experience of sharing my group and I's final video with our Service Learning partner was relieving and remarkable. It made all of our diligence and hard work worthwhile. It made our connection to Mr. Li increase even higher. It made me recall the first moment I met Mr. Li. It made me remember how intent he was on carrying back his own drinking water even after my Service Learning group and I insisted to help him. It made me recollect all the memories and wise words Mr. Li had told me. 

As I was sitting facing the audience with the rest of my team, I could see Mr. Li's expressions change throughout the video. When our video was portraying Mr. Li's compliments and remembrances to Chairman Mao, in the audience, Mr. Li laughed immediately. As the video progressed on, Mr. Li started talking about his childhood experience and when I looked at Mr. Li, the corners of his mouth turned upward. A smile. 

When our video was nearing the end, Mr. Li was telling us about how he already has one foot in the grave up on Cangshan mountain, with one foot still here. Amongst the many viewers, Mr. Li had a neutral appearance, he was simply nodding to his words displayed on the screen. His nodding was consistent and I could tell that he was untroubled with us illustrating his words about death because when we were filming that specific scene, he was extremely open and even laughed at his own words during the filming about the sun setting for him. 

Below are recommendations I have for future Microcampus students who will be involved in the Service Learning project: 

  • Do not overthink about the filming, instead, emphasize and concentrate on developing a promising relationship between potential Service Learning partners 
  • Always be flexible and adaptable if your Service Learning partner is busy during your suitable filming time
  • Always take in account of your Service Learning partner's feelings when asking sensitive questions and topics 



My name is Sonia, and I am 14 years old. I was born in Canada, however, I was raised in Shanghai. My hobbies include basketball, touch rugby, volleyball, writing, and reading. I acquire a thirst for learning and new opportunities. I was in Xizhou immersing myself in a new culture and remarkable, powerful, stoical, generous community. A community of people with wisdom, erudition, and philosophy to share, and lives with stories worth listening.