When we started service learning we thought we had a very good partner. I had met him at the Linden Centre and he was very friendly to me and invited me over to his house. I went with Ms. Mai and I felt that I created a bond with him even though I had only met him that day. The next day I came back with the rest of my service learning group, they also all thought that he would be a great partner. They invited us over for lunch the next day and while we were there we introduced them to the service learning project. They didn't want to do it because they said it was too much trouble and didn't want to be filmed. However, the next day we decided to go back with another person' service learning video as an example. Once seeing what this really was they agreed to do it, but they didn't want to talk about China's history as it was a sensitive topic to them. But then the next day we got a call from him saying that he wouldn't be in Xizhou for the next three days. So, we had to find a new partner. After telling Ms. Mai about this she recommended that we go to the mosque because there were many elders there who knew about the project and wanted to participate in it. We went the next day at 11:00 and found out that it was closed until 5:30 that day and the next days would have celebrations so the mosque would be too busy. As we were walking back Mr. Yang, the antique shop owner peeked his head out of his house and said hello to us. He asked us what we were doing and we told him our situation. He said that his uncle was in the courtyard and would be willing to do something like this. We met him and introduced ourselves and learned a little bit about him and he wanted to be a part of this program.
His name is Yang Bing Xiong. When he was younger he was a math and english teacher and also a leader of a muslim group. Bing Xiong Yang is also a local of Xizhou. His nephew is Mr. Yang the antique shop owner. Over the past three weeks our group has built a strong connection with him. Bing Xiong Yang is a very kind man and was willing to share his story with us. He was very open and said he enjoyed our company.
See above for the service learning video
From this experience I learned that elders are very conservative and cab be very shy. Due to many of their histories and things they went through many of them don't like to share much about many historical events. I also learned that the ones that are willing to share, do a lot. They aren't scared to mention their thoughts and opinions about things like the cultural revolution and the three years of natural disasters.
What I learned about Xizhou's history is that lake Erhai has always been a major and important part of the surroundings and environments. People used to be able to drink water from the lake but now it has become so polluted and infested. Many people in Xizhou weren't affected by the cultural revolution.
We learned about many polarizing figures like Mao and Deng Xiao Ping. Also, we learned about how the cultural revolution and the Japanese invasion changed the way that China is today. Also, we learned about the fall of the dynasties with the Qing and how life transformed in 1911.
Sharing the final video with my service learning partner felt really good. We were the only group in which our elder was able to come to the presentation. We left to his house at about 2:20. We wanted to leave at 2:00 because we wanted to take a picture with him. We were going to go to the store where you can print pictures we wanted to give it to him as a goodbye present. We ran out of time because we were behind on work so we couldn't give him the picture.
Once we arrived at the centre he said that it was so beautiful. We walked to the TV room and sat down he started talking to Mr. T. They seemed to be having a nice conversation and connecting well. When the videos started I was watching his face and he looked very happy to see other people in the videos. He looked like he was having a very fun time hearing about the other elder's stories. When the video of him started he was smiling and I could tell that he really liked this project.
Some recommendations I have for Microcampus students are to start filming before leaving for the hike. You might run into some problems with service learning partners and if you do then you will have plenty of time to fix the problems. Also, find a service learning partner that you are really sure that this is the right person, you don't want to just choose anybody that you find first. The last recommendation I have is to have fun with it. It will be the hardest part of Microcampus but that makes it the best to be able to show the final product to your elder.