The video can be viewed above or here.
For Service Learning, our group's partner was Mr. Yang. Mr. Yang is 63 years old, and owns an antique shop near to Sifangjie.
Mr. Yang's full Chinese name is 杨家鹏 (yang jia peng). He was born and raised in Xizhou. Mr. Yang retired back when he in his fifties, and decided to open up an antique shop because he was interested in antiques when he was young. His shop has only been opened for a year and a half. Mr. Yang has two daughters, but they both do not live in Xizhou anymore. He has a grandson, who is our age. They come back to celebrate Chinese New Year with them every year.
From this experience, I learned more about Mr. Yang's life here in China. Through what he shared with us, Mr. Yang's life has been tough ever since he was young, but he seems to be happy and content with his life now. Often, we will see him talking with some of his friends, enjoying his life now. When he was talking about his childhood, Mr. Yang would repeat about how tough his childhood was, and how lucky we were to be able to live in this modern society. Mr. Yang has been independently working for a long time now, and he has never taken anything for granted.
Mr. Yang's story helped me understand how major events in Xizhou has changed people's lives. For example, during Mr. Yang's childhood, Xizhou's citizens were poor, and the children needed to support the parents by working hard. This has effected Mr. Yang's life as a child as well as many other people of his age around this village. Also, Mr. Yang touched on the fact that his land was taken away, which was part of the reason why he needed to open up a store to help sustain his living.
When Mr. Yang was around our age, the Cultural Revolution was in play. Mr. Yang told us how difficult his life was at that time, especially because, in his family, there were eight siblings in total. He had to work hard to help support his parents. This helped me understand the impact the Cultural Revolution had on families here in Xizhou.
Finally, we shared our final video during the Service Learning sharing presentation (See Day 26 journal post).
Max and Noam were the ones who picked up our partner as I needed to go find someone else. When I got back, they were still not here, so Sara and I waited at the entrance. Finally, Mr. Yang, our partner, arrived at Yangzhuoran. He had never been here before, so we showed him around the house. He seemed really excited to have a tour, and we took him around upstairs as well as downstairs. Finally, we came into Classroom 1, where it was to take place.
We were all surprised that our partners seemed to know to each other. They immediately shouted each others' names, and began to talk amongst themselves. It was really nice to see them bond and talk over the fact that they were here to watch the videos we made for them.
At last, our videos were shown. I was quite nervous for our video because I really wanted Mr. Yang to enjoy our presentation. We were the third group up, and we sat in front of the classroom, facing the audience. That way we wouldn't be prone to laughing at the mistakes we made in the video. Throughout the presentation, Mr. Yang was smiling at our video, so I took it as a good sign that he was happy with the final product. It felt extremely special to have someone really enjoy the video we made based on their own life experiences. That was definitely the best part of the day.
Afterwards, the partners left because the weather was quite cold, but our entire group went to send Mr. Yang back. Mr. Yang praised us about the filming, and said we did a good job. I felt really pleased that Mr. Yang liked the video we made. We promised him we would come back tomorrow to say goodbye to him before we left Xizhou.
The most important tip for Service Learning is making connections early on. Most of the time, groups will find a partner that they think will be the one, but, in the end, the person will most likely back out. Making connections way before the due date will help ensure that you are have a lot of options when the time comes. That leads me onto the fact that you should have many options for filming. More service learning partners means that if one person backs out suddenly, you will still have many options to fall back on. This way you will not end up stressing out about not having a partner the week it is supposed to be due. Good luck to all future Microcampus groups!