My potential Service Learning partner was a woman and her name was Ms Yang. She agreed readily to my proposition and happily agreed to be videoed, and also our Service Learning partner. Ms Yang was the grandmother of Old Town Snacks and was very welcoming. Ms Yang is from Xizhou and has lived here for all of her life, and her family is one of the main four families here in Xizhou.
Unfortunately, Ms Yang could not be my Service Learning partner because she has already been interviewed before. However, the time we spent with her, learning about her and making her comfortable around us was not wasted. During the time where we spent talking about her and all the different things, she has been through. We realised that she is a strong communist believer. All the things she has said to us revolves around Chairman Mao and everything that he did. Ms Yang told us that the best thing we can do for the community is to make sure the people are alright. Without the people, China would not be as strong as it is now. We also learned that Ms Yang thinks that right now is the best time of her life. Her grandchildren all have children themselves and she can help her granddaughter with the store so she would not be so tired of the new baby.
In the result of spending time with Ms Yang, I gathered that Xizhou, like most other places in China at that time, was very poor. Ms Yang told us that there was not enough food to go around the entire community. She told us that at the time where she was around our age, the whole community had to share one pot of soup and only a few bits of bread. When we asked Ms Yang about the different things Xizhou has been through, she said that Xizhou hasn't changed at all, it is still the same welcoming community as it was before. But one of the things that changed the most is how peaceful Xizhou is now, then it was before. She said that Xizhou was not a peaceful city at all especially when the Cultural Revolution was happening, now, she thinks that this is the best time of her life.
This experience helped me understand the 20th century better because I could ask the questions in which books or articles cannot help me answer. In books and articles, they only drone about the common knowledge of the battles and there really isn't anything about the personal experience, and if you want personal experiences, then you have to read a bibliography. But when talking to someone about what happened during the war, then you can get both the common knowledge and the personal experiences because their personal experiences are tied with the common knowledge, and o understand one, you must understand the other as well. During my talk with Ms Yang, I learned that the Chinese Communist government hid the real facts far far away from the people and that Chairman Mao's impression on most people are good. Only the ones that are willing to learn about the truth knows the truth.
Watching others present their Service Learning projects were a reminder of my failure, though it was our fault since we had not managed to get a Service Learning partner. However, watching the videos really helped me understand the work and effort everyone put into their Service Learning project. The experience of learning peoples' lives was amazing and I got to learn about what they endured through as a young child and everything that made them what they are today. As I watched the Service Learning projects, I also watched the Service Learning partners' reactions. I could tell that they really enjoyed watching the Service Learning videos and in the end, they were all smiling at what the watched. Ms Zhou at the end even hugged Julia, Saleem, and Hayley, because of how moved she was. Other people's reaction was similar even though they were not part of the Service Learning project, their family members were and they came to help support them. Everyone's reaction was brilliant and I really enjoyed watching all of them.
Since I was not able to do my Service Learning project due to my capability of listening to instructions and stopping on time, I have a lot of advice to give to future Microcampus students. Our group was the first to not have a Service Learning project, and feeling of not having one while everyone else is working hard on it is horrible. If you want to not feel like I did, then it is best to follow the deadlines Mr Tafel sets for you. It is only because I did not follow the deadlines that we were not able to have a Service Learning project. Another thing that I have to advice future Microcampus students is that you have to split the jobs within your group evenly. As the leader of a group, I did not make it clear that everyone had to contribute, even if it is just helping out with a few questions, it is better than just sitting around and waiting for the leader, most likely the one who can speak Chinese well enough to communicate with the citizens of Xizhou. Last thing I most advice to future Microcampus students is to be truthful to all of the things that might happen during the project. Be sure to tell Mr Tafel and Ms Mai any trouble that happens along the way and to not hold anything that might cause failure to the group. This will help you a lot with your project and all of the stress you are dealing with.