Vicky, Alex and I are in a group for Service Learning. I am hosting the project.
During the interview, there could be few questions such as:
What was your childhood like?
What kinds of changes occured throughout your lifetime?
What is your current job?
What was the most memorable event to you?
Possible Elders in Xizhou:
Mr. Yen-Restaurant owner
Mr. Zhao-Casket Maker
Mr. Su-Happy Person
Mr. Yang- shoemaker might be a good partner because he seems happy in letting us talk to him and he is interesting and funny.
My group and I could respectfully come up to them and ask to chat with them. We should introduce oursevles to our partner and ask him about his life and job.
During my second contacts, I should ask him a few more questions that will help us during the project and schedule another appointment with him.
After seven trials, we finally chose our service learning partner, Mrs. Dou who sells tofu at Si Fang Jie. She was very open to us and wanted to talk to us no matter what it took. She seemed to always be happy witha smile on her face when selling tofu to her customers.
Characteristics of a good Service Learning partner:
3. Good memory
4. Easy to talk to
5. Opens up to us
From Mrs. Dou, I learned a lot about her job and background. She could not go to school after middle school because of the tough times. She also could not go on the field to do labor. Like Mr. Yang the shoemaker, they had certain injuries and had to chose another job. She picked tofu because it was her hobby that she learned from her grandma. Even though, some days the business was bad, she came and left Si Fang Jie with hope and a smile across her face.
We focused on Mrs. Dou's job because it seemed interesting to us. It was unique for a person to sell sweet and salty tofu on the streets. I learned a little about Xizhou's history though. After the Cultural Revolution, Xizhou had a big change and was completely back then.
I learned that through tough times, it affected a lot of people and forced people to do jobs that they did not want to do. If Mrs. Dou continued school, she could have been a bright student who could read and write. She could also have a better job than selling tofu.
Around 2:30, we started to retrieve our service learning partners. My partners went to help Mrs. Dou with her tofu cart while I gave Mr. T our final video. Mrs. Dou brought a friend along. We served some tea, oranges and bananas to the guests. The guests started chatting with us and with each other. When everyone gathered in the dining room except for Mr. Yang the restaurant owner, Mr. Tafel gave his introductions and a few people seemed eager to continue. Mrs. Dou looked like she wanted to be back in Si Fang Jie selling tofu but she kept her smile.
We started the videos with Mr. Li's video being first. It was a nice video with some humor. A few people in the crowd laughed when Mr. Li said something funny and unique. Mr. Li seemed happy with the result and happily finished the video. Mrs. Dou was next and even though there were some technical errors, she seemed to enjoy the video. Mr. Zhao's video was very nice and touching. He is our guard who looks after us and takes care of us. Even though he seems hidden, he is very helpful and always there for us. He wanted us to stay in Xizhou a little longer so we could be together a little longer. I did not know that we made such a big impact that even a local person would want these sixteen noisy students to stay longer. It felt good that we made a positive impact on a few people in Xizhou like Mr. Zhao. We continued and once Mr. Yang's video was starting, Mr. Yang still had not arrived. Right after we finished, Mr. Yang made his great extrance announcing that he was here ready to get the gathering started.
We took pictures with our service learning partners. We also stood in line for Mrs. Dou's famous sweet tofu. It seemed after all that today was one of the good business days for Mrs. Dou. Most of the guests left and Mr. Yang continued inside to finish his video. He seemed happy while watching the video. We bid our partners farewell and continued our day.
I recommend the next group that they should connect with the Xizhou community even before starting the Service Learning project. This will help them get some connections and it will be easier for them to pick a partner. I also suggest that they have a partner in mind before the first service learning meeting. My group had a hard time looking for a service learning partner that wanted to be part of this project. Finally, I recommend to get the partner's contact information at the first meeting with them. Our group arranged a time with one of our seven partners but he never showed up.