Updated 3 years 6 months ago
My group's Service Learning partner was Mrs. Zhou Rui Lao. Zhou Nai Nai is originally from Xia Guan and moved here 40 years ago because of her marriage. Zhou Nai Nai is a faithful Christian who loves to sing, dance and cross-stitch. Her shop that she shares with her daughter in law is in Si Fang Jie and is a tye-dye shop. 

After having series of conversation with Zhou Nai Nai, we collected an abundance amount of information about her childhood, cross stitch, and how Christianity changed her life. Her early life was hard as her father passed away when she was just 6 years old and Zhou Nai Nai decided to quit school after that to help out her mom. When she was young, she would find the time to cross stitch and knit hats, backpacks, sweaters for fun. The pieces turned out really nice and all her classmates told Zhou Nai Nai that she would have a bright future. The most important part was when she told us how Christianity has changed her life in a better way. She has walked out of her hardship and has entered a new, joyful, thankful life. Her wishes for us are to always remember the good thing people do for us, but always forgive other people whether you like it or not. 

 Zhou Nai Nai did not mention the history as our main focus as a group was about her interests, childhood and how Christianity affected her life. However, she has mentioned t about the hard life she had during her childhood. Money was hard to earn back then and she had to help out her mom due to her father's death. But over the course of talking elders on that I know, they mentioned that Cultural Revolution was a hard time where people starved and did not have freedom at all.

I learned that life in the 20th Century is a lot easier now since the government provides housing, money, and support to the ones needed. Many elders including Zhou Nai Nai mentioned that we were very lucky that we did not live during the difficult time periods.

When Saleem and Julia (our Service Learning group) brought Zhou Nai Nai to YangZhouRan, we gave her a tour of our home. Since Zhou Nai Nai's husband used to work here before retiring 7 years ago, she would tell us where the working area, kitchen and the rooms used to be compared to the design now. She told us that the design now is better compared back to the old days. After showing her around, or more like her telling us where places used to be, it was time for the Service Learning Video Sharing. 

When we went into Classroom 1 to show the videos, we made sure to serve her tea and any snacks to thank her for taking her working time to come. When it was our group's turn to play our video, we had to sit against the wall and face the audience while they watch our video that took hours and hours to make. She was a little hesitant at first to watch the video as she kept on saying that she looks bad in the video. I was observing Zhou Nai Nai while she watched the video and she was smiling most of the time. I felt like she was a bit embarrassed but still happy when we showed clips of her dancing and singing. On the way returning to our seats, she hugged us all. She told Mr. Tafel that we were very good kids and loves having us around. 

After the event, we insisted on escorting her back to her shop. On the way home, she told us to visit her tomorrow to go to her home before we leave on her. It was very kind and sweet for her to say that and will ask Mr. Tafel about it as soon as possible. When we were about to leave her shop, she was teary-eyed when we all hugged her and said our goodbyes for the day. I am thankful to Zhou Nai Nai for helping us out so much and I believe that doing a Service Learning project is a great way to show gratitude to the village for hosting us for 28days.

Here are some recommendation to future Microcampus students for their Service Learning Project.

A) Start early and make connections with the villagers. Once you get to Xizhou, you should start making connections with the villagers and ask questions about their career and life. 

B) Learn about the most important thing/moment in their life and ask to follow up questions about it. You need to let your audience know what your video is mostly about not little facts about your partner. 

B) Always, Always have a plan form A-Z. Having extra contacts means having a backup plan. In case one says no to becoming your partner, you will always have others that are willing to say yes if you bond close enough with them. Even though our group only started off with only a few contacts, we managed to build close relationships as if they were part of our family.

C) Make sure you get an overloading amount of footage. Having a lot more is always better than having the right amount as you sometimes lose the footage or need an extra clip to make it 10 times better.

D) Plan your editing on time and make sure everyone has an equal amount of work. Having someone doing all the work can stress them out and cause headaches. Make sure to listen to advice given during your Pearls of Wisdom and listen to the teachers.



Hey guys! My name is Hayley and I am now an alumni of the 21-st Ultimate Group. I enjoy playing volleyball, making Youtube Videos and cooking in my free time. My journey at Microcampus has been amazing and through the up's and down's, I learned so much about my inquiry project, the village, the citizens and most of all, myself. I will never forget my home away from home, Xizhou with its delicious food, blue skies, stars and kind locals. 喜州,我想你!