The focus of our Service Learning Project is to capture the life of an active elder in the Xizhou Village. We have not yet chosen our elder for our project yet. Click here to go to Sarah's page, where all of our info will be stored from this project.
As my group is looking for a Service Learning elderI think that a good person to chose would be willing to participate fully, and maybe give some details about their life that have not been brought up in years. An active elder in the community would be easier to interview for two reasons. First of all, if the elders are more active they would most likely have a more interesting recent life to share with us. Also many elders who are non-active would probably be less cooperative.
Our Service Learning partner was Mr. He, he is a 63 year old security guard at YZR. I learned that Mr. He lived only with his mom when he was little because his dad died when he was only a little boy. I also learned that our partner was a Red Guard when he was only 8 years old! He told us that that was not a bad thing, that even 70-80 year olds were Red Guards.
I learnt about how life was like during the Three Years of Natural Disaster, and also about what life was like during The Cultural Revolution. He told us that life was miserable, and people did not have enough to eat. He told us that the Local Government would put the grain that would normally go into serveral fields, and put them into one field. When the bigger Government came down to check the fields, they saw the one fields with lots and lots of rice, but did not see the fields with nothing. Then the Government was happy because they also thought that since they were making so much rice, that everyone had a lot of rice to eat.
During the Cultural Revolution a lot of people were Red Guards. Most of the wealthy families in XiZhou were affected way more than the less fortunate families.
It was funny because all of the other elders at the showing had to be held onto and guided up and down the stairs, and our guy rode to YZR on his bike. It was interesting to see the different expressions on the elders faces when they saw themselves on the screen. Mr.He was very nice and talked with all of the elders. Mr.He also helped the other elders to their seats, and I think the reason is that, since he is younger than all of the other elders at 63, did not want to be classified as an 'elder' :).
Athough I do not know, I think that if the elders fully understood the real meaning of the Service Learning Project they would be happy because they would know that their stories would be forever preserved. I think my favorite part of the entire Project, for me, was watching the elders watch themselves.
I would recommend getting multiple Service Learning parners, so that when a very plausible partner does not fall through like ours, you have many back up options. Even though when you find a good partner you are going to think 'Oh I do not need to get back up partners', but trust me you will. Also I would start getting a partner earlier in the process so that you have time to relax after you have finished your video.