My service learning group include Cass and Yi Fei. If you want to have a look at our project, click here (http://www.sasmicrocampus.org/projects/blogs/196/students/servicelearning).
Our service learning partner is Mr.Zhao the security guard of Yang Zuo Ran.
Mr. Zhao (赵顺时, Zhao Shun Shi) the Security Guard of Yang Zuo Ran
Mr. Zhaoʼs smile was the one that welcomed us to our new home. How is it that the face we see everyday has some many untold stories behind it? He grew up in XiZhou and rode the up and downʼs of the waves that came through this town. Though there were tough times, he was one of the lucky folks to have benefitted from the new policies of New China. When the down came, he always kept his chin up and waited for the good times to pick him up again.The opening of China game him both tough times, but a much better live in the end.
Mr. Zhao was born in 1942 in the quaint village of XiZhou in Yunnan province. After graduating elementary school, he along with many others in his town, left school to work at construction sights around Yunnan and make money for his family. Though it was a tough decision, he decided it was the right one. Because good living conditions where impossible to come by, most families made the same choice that Mr. Zhaoʼs family did. During his childhood, he braved hard weather without clothes to protect him, and a constantly empty stomach gnawing away at his gut. But brave is the right word to use and he made it through to see better times in the end.
As it is a local custom, Mr. Zhao met his wife in the 20ʻs with the help of a local elder. In this tradition, A local elder will introduce you to another person. After few years of dating, he married his current wife and had two children.
In 1981, China reformed and opened up new doors in his life. During the reform the village had itʼs fair share of struggles but in the end, Mat made life much better for in impoverished of his country. In full support of the chairman, Mr. Zhao said, “Chairman Mao is the reason China is such a great place right now”
As he aged, he quit his construction jobs and worked as a farmer. He lived a relaxing life filled with hours of mahjong in retirement for only a few years before the Lindens hired him to work as their security guard.
Opening and reforming of China also brought another gift to Mr. Zhao - the Linden Centre was built in Xizhou. The Linden Centre was a huge surprise and new issue in Xizhou because there was no such place like Linden Centre before in Xizhou. The Linden Centre opened up a new world for the local villagers as foreigners came to visit Xizhou.
January 2012, he started to work as a security guard for the Linden Centre. He met a lot of foreigners, including the first Microcampus group. This is how he became the guard for our Microcampus home, also known as Yang Zuo Ran. He said “You guys also have a very positive impact on me.” and invited us to come back to Xizhou saying Xizhou is a beautiful place. At the very last minute of the interview, he said that he will not forget us. We will also not forget you, Mr. Zhao!
Yifei Cheng, Cassandra Mitchell, and Sujin Han The B4 Microcampus Group
I learned that Chairman Mao really made a lot of positive changes in China. I did not know a lot of Chinese history, but I knew that there were revolutions and hard times in China. When we asked Mr. Zhao about thse hard times, he said that it was for the change to make the next generation's life better. He was very supportive of Chairman Mao, and it was him that improved China to now.
I learned that when Mr. Zhao was young, numerous people in Xizhou did not have the proper economic status to get their children education. He said that he went to work in construcrion industries around Yunnan when he graduated elementary school, which is even younger age then we are. He also said that nearly all the people in Xizhou were living like that at that time.
I learned about the different revolutions and other major historic events in China that affected the whole population, such as the Greatly Forward. At first when I heard about the opening and reforming of China, I thought it was just China opening up. However, when I interviewed Mr. Zhao about it. He said that people had a tough life during the reforming and opening of China, but he also said that it made many people's life so much better including his.
Today we had the huge service learning celebration that took place at Yang Zuo Ran, our home. The elders that we interviewed came, as well as their friends. Mr. Linden and Mrs. Linden came with other Linden Centre people. Ms. Tina, from pudong campus, was there, too. Many people came to Yang Zuo Ran. I felt like I am hosting a party at my home. The dining room was filled with people from different countries. It was really a great scene.
From all our service learning partners, Ms. Dou the Tofu vender was the most familiar looking for all of us. After watching the service learning videos, we all bought a bowl of Tofu for 3 kuai from her. It was a way to say thank you and also sweet snack. I would have never tasted the Tofu, if it wasn't for service learning.
Our service learning partner, Mr. Zhao the security guard of Yang Zuo Ran, looked very excited to have this many people in Yang Zuo Ran. He talked to other elders with huge smile on his face. He was enjoying the time for sure. I really hope he liked the video. When we were playing the video, I looked back at Mr. Zhao couple times to see him smiling and little awkward to have his face on the screen. I think this was also a new experience for the elders. At the last minute of our video, there is a part that Mr. Zhao says he will not forget us. We all smilied and said we won't forget you as well, when we got to that part. I think that was the best part of the whole service learning celebration for me.
- Make sure you have an elder that is willing to be video recorded after few meetings because we had to change nearly at the end due to our old partner refusing to be recorded in any way.
- Make sure that your service learning partner is comfortable with sharing that information with other people, since everyone will see the video at the celebration.
- Make sure you have quiet and not sad music as background, since some musics interupt the audience trying to focus on the content.