Our service learning partner was Mr. Yang. He is 83 years old and is retired, living in the door next to Dong An Men.
Mr. Yang (Jisheng) lived in Kunming during his working years, and returned back to Xizhou for retirement. He was a former basketball player for China's National Team, and still loves sports. Before he retired, he had several different jobs. Other than being a professional basketball player, he was also a teacher, chemical engineer, and miner. Mr. Yang has three children, two of which are currently in Kunming. They visit him once a year.
When we asked Mr. Yang about Xizhou's history, he commented that the older generation was more timid than the current generation - they are not as open and relaxed. Mr. Yang described them as "introverted". He also told us about life before, when there was a government internal affair. Officials and soldiers went into homes and took away people's silver, gold, money, and other valuables and locked them up together.
In my Day 26 journal
, I have written about the experience of sharing my final video with Mr. Yang. Here is what I wrote:
Today at 3:00 PM, all four work groups presented their Service Learning Videos. My work group picked up Mr. Yang at his house at around 2:30 PM and walked him to Yang Zhuo Ran. I was actually much more excited than I expected to be. Mr. Yang had came to Yang Zhuo Ran the year before, so he knew his way around quite well. We were the first group to arrive, and we still had 10 minutes before the presentation, so we walked around the house with Mr. Yang. When another group arrived, we brought our service learning partners together to meet each other, and was surprised to see what happened. Mr. Yang firmly patted Mr. Zhao on the back, and Mr. Zhao turned around, exclaiming "Yang Ji SHEeeeng!". They turned out to be highschool classmates, and immediately bonded.
Once the clock reached three, everyone was inside classroom 1 and Mr. T started his introduction, and then played our videos. I watched Mr. Yang and the other service learning partners as they watched everyone's videos, and they smiled and laughed when they saw each other. At the end of the presentation, Mr. Yang said "good!" to us in english, and "thank you!". It was a great experience to have a real, live audience watching my video and reacting to my video.
After the presentation, we welcomed our guests to snacks downstairs in the courtyard and sat down, chilling and chatting. We took a few pictures with Mr. Yang and our service learning group, and I was proud of myself and my group. When it was time, we walked Mr. Yang back to his home.
For future Microcampus students, I would advise that they find a service learning partner before the end of the second week. This means that they need to immediately begin making connections with the elders of the village, and be close enough so that they know each other's names. Doing this will help greatly when it is time to interview and film for service learning. During filming, they should also be taking pictures of their service learning partner's homes, old photos, and anything else that can show a part of who they are. These photos are what makes the video more interesting, instead of a 6 minute film of someone asking questions, and someone answering them.