The focus of our Service Learning project is a partnership with an elder 60 years or older and to preserve the history of Xizhou. After getting to know one elder in particular, we will design a short biography and article about our Service Learning partner. We have not yet chosen our Service Learning elder. Click here to go to our group's project page.
Some characteristics that I am looking for in a Service Learning elder are:
- Caring for others
- Observant, interested in many things
- Talkative (has many stories to tell)
- Interested in our story as well
I learned a lot about Mr. Yang. He is a very insightful man that loves to talk about things that he is open to share with anybody. He is a very gentle man and his age doesn't slow him down. He also has a fascinating history that goes back quite a while. So he was able to tell us a lot about the most recent (meaning 70 years ago to now) events in Chinese history.
Mr. Yang has nine siblings, which must have been an important part of his life. Also, he did not mention the Cultural Revolution because it was a very touchy subject for him. However, when we asked him about Mao's death, he said,"Without Chairman Mao, there will be no new China." Everybody was confused as to what they should do next because Chairman Mao had made all of their decisions for them.
For future groups, I would say, find as many locals as possible because you never know if they will agree to be video taped. Mr. T said 12 locals per person in your group, which totals out to 48 possible contacts. Also, don't ask them touchy questions from the beginning. Get to know them first, so thehy are comfortable with sharing personal information with you. Finally, be patient. In their old age, your partner may be hard of hearing or can not walk as fast as they could 20 years ago. Their memory may not be as sharp as it used to.