1) What did you learn about your elder as a result of this experience?
- I learned that Mr. Li is a very happy man. During his life, he has worked very hard including becoming a soldier and worker. Now that he is retired, he is now the owner of a restaurant. His son is 42 years old, and leading a great life, so Mr. Li isn't worried. With the burden taken of his shoulders, he lives a retirement of happiness and freedom.
2) What did you learn about Xizhou's history as a result of this experience?
- I learned that a very large portion of XiZhou's population were farmers. During the Revolution, all the farmers needed to do was do their job. After the reforms, meat and fish was availible for people like Mr. Li, which made him very happy.
3) What did you learn about 20th Century Chinese history as a result of this experience?
- I mainly learned about the Cultural Revolution and the Reforms and how it affected people's lives. After the revolution and reforms, people were more equal. People with social status like Mr. Li could have fish and meat. This was usually for the more relativily wealthy people.
4) Describe the experience of sharing your final video with your Service Learning partner--please copy/paste this as your daily journal
- It was very interesting watching Mr.Li's and other members of the audience's reactions. My group's video was shown first, and I think Mr. Li was quite proud to have shared his life story with the rest of the group. He smiles and laughs a bit about his answers to some of the questions, and so did the audience. This was especially about his relaxed life, how he doesn't play Majong, and his constant mentioning of TV. I think our video helped give the audience a good idea of Mr. Li's past and current life, and it seems like it had a positive impact.
- After the celebration was over, Mr. Li warmly thanked our group for the video. We shook hands and he invited us to go to his restaurant anytime for a meal. In the beginning, Mr. Li was a bit reluctant to come to the celebration, but we managed to convince him to come. When he left, Mr. Li seemed very happy. We also gave him a small gift as a "thank you" for his participation. I hope the video we created would be remembered by Mr. Li, and that the celebration has been a happy experience for him.
5) What recommendations do you have for future Microcampus students who will be involved in a Service Learning project?
- It is very important to establish a close and friendly connection with your service learning elder. Having a friendly connection makes interviews much smoother, and the elder will be more willing to be interviewed, and would probably feel comfortable talking with you.
- Pick someone who is open, and willing to share his life memories with you. Sometimes, during normal conversations an elder might mention an aspect of his/her own life. Picking an elder that is more open will make interviews much more easier and fun.
- The last suggestion I have is during your interviews, try to avoid the "question, then answer" format. What our group did was start with a few questions, and as the elder speaks, we come up with follow up questions so we can get more detailed and rich information. This method of interview promotes more conversation, and be sure the video tape all of it. You never know which parts of the interview you will end up needing to use for your final product.