Our service learning partner is Mr. Wang, his full name is 王在供 (Wang Zai Gong). Mr. Wang is 82 years old and he is the father-in-law with the owner of a Xizhou baba shop near SiFang Jie. Mr. Wang has three children and three grandchildren, he has 1 daughter, two sons, one granddaughter, and two grandsons. Mr. Wang has been retired for over 30 years, but he is still working very hard selling baba almost every day of the week to support his daughter-in-law's local Xizhou baba business. When he was young he was a straight-A student and adults would trust him to handle big responsibilities like being an exemplary student and helping teachers with experiments. Although he was very disciplined at school, he dropped out of high school at the age of 16, as he was bored with what he was learning. He soon started working in a hydropower factory in Yunnan, where he worked for 36 years and was also very trusted with his bosses. Mr. Wang lived through the cultural revolution, but it did not affect him as he was always very busy working. However, he still has very strong opinions on it.
After various conversations with Mr. Wang, we all learned a lot about his story and his views on Xizhou, but one of the most interesting things that I have learned throughout this process was when he talked about his education and adult life. He was always very well trusted by teachers and bosses. In his adult life during the cultural revolution, he was very proud that his bosses trusted him a lot leading to him being able to work outside of Dali in big cities. Although he was not part of the Cultural Revolution he shared with us his opinions and thoughts on this catastrophic event.
This project has taught not only me but the entire Ultimate group about China's history more specifically Xizhou's. Mr. Wang did not say much about the Cultural Revolution and Xizhou's history, but while walking around during our free time, we found many things that can relate to Xizhou's history. We found many elders that felt uncomfortable when the Cultural Revolution came up, as it has had a very negative effect on the people of Xizhou and even China. However, Mr. Wang was around 20-30 years old when the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward happened. He was able to give us very interesting points as well as detailed insight into what happened. Thanks to his insight, it made the history books we study from feel more alive.
Being able to watch the service learning videos, has taught me a lesson which is to always plan ahead. Though in the beginning, I was able to contribute to this project, sadly I was not able to present the final product as I did not finish my Inquiry Project on time. Something that we were said a lot by both Mr. T and Ms. Mai is that in the real world when you do not finish work or arrive at a place on time the train will leave in the real world. For this project, the train left without me. Even though I did not do the final touches like editing a video or being able to see my past partners reaction I am able to say that I contributed in the beginning of the project by encouraging my group to make connections and also filming and getting to know our partner. From watching behind the chair I was able to notice that both partners were glad to see how their life stories were shown.
For future Microcampus students, I highly recommend that you first start making connections since day 1, as it would make it an easier experience. I would also try to secure a partner by the middle of the third week as it would result in having a more detailed video and a variety of information ( it would also not make your viewer bored). I also highly recommend having a partner by the third week as you would be able to bond with your partner and get to know him/her better. Secondly, I would recommend that you always have a plan a, b, c, d, and so on. You should always have a plan, 40% of the time when you finally find a partner there is a chance that they would not like to be filmed. I would also recommend staying positive throughout the journey. In the beginning, it might seem easy, but the closer the deadline gets and the harder it is to find a partner. Especially if there is a language barrier and you cannot help by asking and explaining them about their life story, keep encouraging the person who is talking in your group. Lastly, I would recommend listening to Mr. T and Ms. Mai, they truly only want the best for you.