Updated 3 months 2 weeks ago
I created my service learning video with the help of Erin, Evan, and Emily. Mr. Tan owns a local shop that is a couple of doors down from Yang Zhuo Ran. He was born during a time when China was in chaos, and everyone was living in poverty. His old career was as a photographer. He opened up a photo booth even though it was illegal. Mr. Tan was forced to farm as a teenager and adult and not allowed to go to school. Mr. Tan did not continue his hobby of photography because he thought it was pointless. He realized that photography could not make a living and decide to open a shop instead. During this process, I learned many things. One of those was that that time was tough and is trying to be erased from the books. The government is putting a lot of its power into stopping the real history from spreading. I also learned that by taking away the history you are not only taking away the culture but also the lives and stories of them. By stopping the spread of the real information people cannot solve the mistakes that were made in the past. It erases what all the people were and they are erased. By doing Service Learning we are making it so their stories are remembered.
I think that watching the audience watching your product is a unique experience. First of all, watching my service learning partner I realized that what this video is doing is really powerful. During several points over the video, our service learning partner smiled. But the most memorable was in the part was about his photography career. Every time it was mentioned he would get sad, but not as in regret it was a happy sad. He sat there and remembered the joy he had gotten from it. This was very interesting. When we first met Mr. Tan he was very closed off to the point that he did not like us to come film and talk to him. I understand why. Living through that time meant that you had to be skeptical and not trust everyone. At first, he did not trust us but after seeing our video and realizing the importance of it he was happy. What I found interesting about watching the crowd was the amount of stress or nervous was not there. During a normal video presentation, you are watching the video and every time you see a mistake you are stressing about the audience's reactions and multiplying the worst ones in your head. Watching the crowd made me realize that our imagination is the stem for stress and nervousness. As you watch the crowd you realize they are not there to judge but to merely learn.
This way of presenting is unique and should be used more often. I really enjoyed watching the reactions because I did not need anyone to tell me how good or bad it was because I could read it on their faces. Mr. Tan may have seemed grumpy and closed off at first but after the presentation, I think a little spark was ignited. He seemed willing to talk and more trusting. Afterward, he admitted that he did have childhood photos and had lied to us when we had asked during the production of the film. I think the only thing it takes for people to trust others is for people to prove that they are not there to gain anything. Like the micro-campus group if you prove to someone that we are just here to learn and not to gain anything their trust in others can be ignited. After living in a time where not trusting anyone but the government was what kept you alive I think it is hard for people to just turn their backs on that way of living. But if you prove that you trust them and are not going to gain something they will think the same way. I am not upset that we did not get the childhood photos. The photos were a way to prove that people change and that times have changed. maybe not all of the world but most people are not there to gain something. Mr. T says that we are not here to help the community only to learn from them but I think that indirectly we are helping them by proving to them that they can trust people.
I think that three things future micro-campus students should think about three things when they are doing their project. The first thing to consider is being patient with your service-learning partner. The other is being okay if your partner is a bit slow at trusting you and your group. The third and final thing is that in the 28 days it will feel weird connecting with the community but in the last few days you will wish you had.