The focus of our service learning project is to capture a life of an active elder in Xizhou. We want to create a video that will capture their past, with a goal to reproduce history, and make the elders feel like people still care. In addition, in 10, 20, maybe 30 years, no one will remember the story that these elders had to struggle through. We want to record their tears, misery, but most of all, their happiness.
My Service Learning group is Aneka, Andre, and Sarah. Our Service Learning partner is Mr. He, a part time security guard for Yang Zhou Ran.
As we look for a service learning partner, we have an idea of the kinds of characteristics that would make an intriguing elder partner for this service learning project.
- A learner- someone who is curious/knows about what has happened in the past, and what is happening in present and future events.
- An observer- a person who observes the happenings in the village and events that happened in the past
- Open- someone who is not afraid to share experiences that they themselves have experienced, and amiable with others.
Please click here to go to our group's project page.
Service Learning Reflection
Through the Service Learning project, we learned about the elder we interviewed, the history of Xizhou, and about 20th Century Chinese history in general. As our group interviewed our elder, we realized early on that he is more than what meets the eye. He had survived the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, although it was difficult to a certain degree. We were reintroduced with the concept that everything comes at a price. In addition to learning about our elder, we also learned about the local history. We found out that during the Cultural Revolution, everyone who was not of 'bad blood' was a Red Guard. And there were four major families in Xizhou that were forced to march in SI Fang Jie, shamed. In addition to learning about local Xizhou history, we also gathered information about 20th Century Chinese history as a whole. Personally, I leared why there were traditional and simplified characters. I had lived in Taiwan, and there, I leared traditional characters, but when I had moved to Shanghai, I had to learn simplified characters. I was confused as to why they used different characters, and learned that during the Reform Era, the traditional characters were replaced with simplified because they were 'wrong'.
As a part of our Service Learning project, we had to make an article and a video. We shared our video with our Service Learning partners. The video was us asking questions and then Mr. He's answers. The article was a story without the questions written in. In short, it was a biography. We then had a native Chinese speaker check the Chinese translation, (Xiao Tang, Annaliese, or Fay) and then Mr. Tafel would watch the Service Learning video to see how it was. He would tell you what needed to be changed, and then when the changes had been made, the movie would be exported and put onto the hard drive so the elders who had participated in the making of the video could view it.
As Mr. He watched our Service Learning video, at first he had the expression that read "Is that really me?" It was as if he could not believe that he was on film, telling his own story, being recorded, feeling like someone out there would be really interested in his story, and that it was his story being told. Then he got over the feeling, and as the movie moved on, he started smiling at some places, and others he started laughing. He seemed that he really enjoyed watching the video, and having his story recorded. This is the reason why we do Service Learning. To record their story, and make them feel like someone still cares.
Just some advice to future Microcampus students, make sure you have at least twelve possible Service Learning partners. You might feel like you really have the right one, but when it comes to video taping your partner, your partner or their spouce might be unwilling to be/have their spouce be video taped. Also, keep visiting them, do not make the connection, than not visit them for a week while you are visiting other partners, keep the connection fresh. You want at least four or five meetings. Then after two or three meetings, ask if you could take pictures of them or video tape them.