My group consisted of Adeena L., Aniketh S., Justin Y. and we decided to interview a wonderful 72 year old man. We refer to him as Mr. Yin, and if you were ever to visit XiZhou, his residence is easily recognized, because there are huge, red letters on the wall next to his door. It says, "this is the general's house". During the interview with him, I learned a lot because during the whole time, he mostly talked about China history. He showed us what the Red Guard has done to his home, he told us which side he originally support Mao Zedong, until he lost the power. During Liberation, he said that people were starving and were homeless. During the whole time I was with him for service learning, he mostly just talked about China history, but never much about himself or XiZhou.
When my group and I went to his house to find him, and he wasn't there. All of us had a synced heart attack, and we tried to stay calm to find him. We divided into 2 groups to find him, we went to ShiFangJie, the bank, the market, everywhere. Finally, I recieved a call from Adeena that she found him playing a chess game. We all rushed back to YangZhouRan, hoping that this day will not turn out to be as bad as how it started off as.
When it was our turn to show our project, I was nervous about what the others might think of it. I worked very hard on it, and when we went up to watch the audience's faces, I mostly just observed Mr. Yin's face. At some points, he was smiling and nodding because which hopefully means he likes what he saw and understood. Afterwards, when I walked him back, he told us that he liked what we did and thought we actually did a pretty good job. He was especially proud that there was not any errors in the Chinese.
Some of the main recommendations I have for future students about service learning, is when Mr. Tafel tells you to start on the project, do it. Also, during any other times when you are out in the village, do not be afraid of just connecting with locals. All of them are so friendly and they do not mind talking to anyone. Also, make sure you divide up the work with teammates, instead of just mostly one or two people working on it. If the work is divided, then it actually will not be so stressful or difficult to manage. Finally, even if you are not fluent with Chinese, or not confident with speaking it at all, well then, too bad for you. Because you are in a Chinese village, and it makes no sense to not speak it at all. In fact, if you do, I can guarantee you at the end of the 28 days, you will feel significant improvement in your language skills.