My Service learning group is Natalie, Lucas, and me. Our service learning partner is Mr. Yang, a 94 year old retired accountant. For our project we will be interviewing our partner about his life expirences and creating a movie of interviews.
The service learning project, Is a project where a group of 3 or 4 microcampus student groups go to the elderly in XiZhou to learn of their stories. Mr. Yang was a wonderful service learning partner, because he lent us some of his lifelong-gained knowledge and taught us about himself. I learned that Mr. Yang was born and raised in XiZhou, that he loved to feed pigeons, and had known his wife since birth. I learned that Mr. Yang loved to read and write books, that he had written many of his own works all throughout life. From Mr. Yang, I learned what it meant to be simply happy with what life has to offer.
Mr. Yang is a 94 year old man, and had seen and experienced 94 years of history all over China. Mr. Yang was born and raised in XiZhou, but then moved to SiChuan as a young adult, and later moved back to XiZhou to raise his family. Mr. Yang taught me about how the cultural revolution effected the people and society of XiZhou. The constant hard work and the poor life conditions. Despite the troubles Mr. Yang experienced living in XiZhou during the Cultural Revolution, he persevered and was strengthened from his trials.
From Mr. Yang, I learned about the effects of history in the 20th century all over China. Mr. Yang lived in SiChuan as a young adult, and has a perspective on how life was during the Cultural Revolution and Japanese invasion in SiChuan and XiZhou. Mr. Yang said that during the Japanese invasion, life was very tough for people on the coastal cities of China. Because SiChuan is located in inner China, the Japanese invasions did not effect him negatively, but later, the cultural revolution did. Because of the Cultural revolution, life was hard everywhere, people were working themselves to the bone, everyone was tiered and there was political instability. Mr. Yang was able to share his stories from China’s history, teaching me, that stories must be shared in order to learn and improve life.
For future microcampus groups, I have a few recommendations that would make the Service learning experience a greater learning experience. My first piece of advice, is to build relationships with many people starting the first day. People will be more open and willing to share their story, if you have said hello, or if there is some kind of relationship. My second piece of advice, is to frequently visit your elder, even if you do not have a camera, just to say hello, be kind to them, because the more of a relationship you have with that person, the more you can learn. The third piece of advice I have, is to communicate with your group. Check in everyday to see how the movie is coming, how translations are going, what needs to be done. Make sure you continue to keep up with service learning work by doing a little bit everyday.