Our Service Learning partner was Mr. Zhao. He is a 72 year old who lives in his son's home. He is currently retired, and writes on his free time.
My service learning partner, Mr. Zhao, was a diligent worker of his age. He worked as a laborer under Mao, and had a life of constant hard work. He was eventually a survivor of all the things that had happened back in the day. We learned that he was very educated, and he was a very good writer. His writing skills are excellent. I also learned that his family had hidden some of his very old relics that were supposed to have been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. His family’s family tree was still there and remembered. We learned that many of the old buildings were destroyed over the years as a result of the changes and expansions. The place had changed and expanded a lot over the ages. We found out that Xizhou had been helped through the opening and changing periods of Chinese history. Throughout the ages, Xizhou had been very poor, while now, Xi Jinping tends to develop the surrounding areas and small villages more than usual. We found out that people were eventually thrown out in the street when there were too many people dying during the 3 Years of Natural Disasters. At the time, almost everyone was thieves, as everyone was poor and had no food.
Experiencing sharing my final video with Mr. Zhao was a very sad one for us. I felt that he was upset about us showing him crying, and mistaking a word for something else. He was shaking and about to cry in his seat, and I felt really bad about that. I sort of wish that I did not share this video with Mr. Zhao. Even so, I got one of my first experiences with deep unsaid criticism towards myself.
At first, when I went on to sit in front of our partners, I saw Mr. Zhao whom was not so happy with us. Before, while we were walking to BCF, he seemed mildly happy. At that point, I felt really bad. At the end, when he came back to normal, he was all happy again. One thing that I did not like about this experience were the mood swings that followed while interviewing our service learning partner, and the passivity of who he is. Even so, he is a very nice person inside, and had invited me to his home when I do come back.
Some recommendations for future Microcampus students is:
1. Use tripods to film all clips, except, when the service learning partner is showing you around.
2. Do try to capture the most emotional moments.
3. Don’t be awkward.
4. Try to film in quiet environments.