The focus of Service Learning project is capture the life of an active elder in XiZhou. We will end up writing out an article and creating a video explaining their story. We have not yet picked an elder. Click here to go to our host page of information. We are looking for a Service Learning partner that has been through a historical or interesting event in their life. Someone who is willing to talk to us and share their story. An elder who is active and not just sitting in bed.
I learned that Mr. He has lived through tough times, but still manages to be happy as an elder. He has two jobs right now, one being a part time security guard at YZR and one being one of two coal distributers for the village. Mr. He described all the things that we read in history books, it made it a lot more real. During the cultural revolution most people were red guards, even 70 - 80 year olds. Compared to china's history, the 20th century is a lot better. China has grown and now I don't think they will repeat the past.
Today we shared our service learning videos with our elder partners and other people (Linden Centre staff, guests etc.) Overall it was a very nice and warming occasion. Mr. Yang and his uncle Mr. Yang showed up, last year when the cookie monsters came one of their service learning partners (Mr. Yang the uncle) couldn't come. This year we kicked it off with their video to show everyone including Mr. Yang. That was very nice. All the elders had their own character. Ms. Chen was very sweet and dressed up in a nice shirt. Mr. Yang was taking pictures of everybody, and his uncle was amazing by himself being 93 and well. Unfortunately Mr. Yang Deguang did not come, but their video was very good. Finally there was Mr. He who was helping all the other elders into their chairs and who walked up the stairs the fastest.
I think overall Mr. He was the youngest "elder" there. Being 63 and having two jobs might seem impressive in the U.S.A., but here a lot of people have a job at 70 or even 80 years old. I think that Mr. He wanted to just stand in the back, unlike Mr. Yang (Kate J, Christina, Jeffrey and Graham's partner) who stood up in the middle of a video to take a picture. As I watched his face during the video I felt that Mr. He was touched though he didn't show it much. He really seemed like a child compared to the other parents, but he had still gone through a lot. During the video presentations I wondered if some of the partners knew each other from the past. I have a feeling that Mr. He might have looked up to some of the other elders there at one time. The experience was amazing and it felt really nice to share the videos we worked so hard on to the person who made them possible.
To all future microcampus students. The service learning project is worth it! It might seem like you don't want to do it or that you don't think it's worth your time. IT IS! I learned so much! For the elders you need to make sure you have second options. Even if you think you have him and you have video taped them before. ALWAYS HAVE A SECOND OR THIRD OPTION! And stay positive! Even at the worst of times you are going to get through it.