Updated 3 years 6 months ago

My Service Learning partner is Ms. Zhou. Her full name is Zhou Rei Lao (周瑞劳). Ms. Zhou is 65 years old and has lived here in Xizhou for over 40 years, but she is not originally from Xizhou, instead, she is from a neighboring village. Some things that I learned about my partner is that she is a very faithful Christian, and has been since 2002. She converted to Christianity during the lowest point in her life because she felt like the support and love of God was what she needed to get through that time. Some things which I learned about Xizhou's history is that Ms. Zhou said people were much kinder and more open 30 to 40 years ago. She also said that Christianity has not been in Xizhou for very long, but instead of having Buddhism like many other Chinese villages, Xizhou has very roots from the Muslim religion as Mongolian leaders from very long ago settled here in Xizhou. I also learned that many people were not willing to talk about the Cultural Revolution as it was a very painful time for them and some people that did not want to talk about it because they were scared that the government would punish them. Some things that I learned about 20th Century Chinese history is that people were much poorer during the 20th century as the government was not very developed and they were going through many campaigns which failed in some peoples' eyes, but in many others, it was very successful. Ms. Zhou did not actually mention Chinese history very much because she only did share it so that we could understand her story more because the Chinese history sometimes gave context.

Our whole group was nervous the day it came to the final Service Learning sharing. We had many things to do that day, and we were messing around with our video and trying to make it perfect. That day, Saleem E., Hayley S. (our Service Learning group) walked over to Ms. Zhou's shop to walk her here to Yang Zhuo Ran. We brought her a bag of fruits, which she tried to decline but we insisted that she kept it and so she did. On the way here, we talked about various topics, but mostly it was us reassuring her that she looked great in the video.

When we got to Yang Zhuo Ran, we brought her on a tour of the house. Ms. Zhou's husband used to work at Yang Zhuo Ran as a doctor, but ever since Yang Zhuo Ran turned into one of the Linden Centre Commons, he has found work elsewhere. Ms. Zhou walked with us around Yang Zhuo Ran and Ms. Zhou walked with us around Yang Zhuo Ran and she told us what all of the rooms used to be and who worked there and why.

After that, we went into Classroom One where we introduced our Service Learning partner to our teachers and some of the other guests that were also here. While Ms. Zhou was connecting with some of the other guests, we brought her some tea, cookies, and fruit. Finally, it was time for us to show our video, and our group was so nervous that Ms. Zhou would not like it. But in the end, we watched her facial expressions and body language we realized that Ms. Zhou actually really enjoyed it.

Some recommendations that I would like to share is that you have to make sure to make many connections with elderly people, and never look down upon them because when you have to do your Service Learning project, many people will refuse and you will be very happy that you had many backup plans. Another recommendation is that as soon as you have any potential Service Learning partners, show their picture to Mr. Tafel so that you can be 100% sure that they are not already taken. My third and final recommendation is that even if they do not end up being your Service Learning partner, you should still talk to them and stay in contact with them because it can be nice to talk to different people once in a while but also because many of the elderly citizens enjoy children's company as it makes them feel younger and they also enjoy talking to people with a different point of view.

My name is Julia J. and I am an Alumni of the "Ultimate" Microcampus group. Microcampus has been an amazing experience and I am sure that everyone who is an Alumni is missing the blue skies and fresh air which Xizhou has to offer.