Our Service Learning partner was Yang Nai Nai. She is 65 and has been working selling small items at her street stand for the past 10 years.
As a result of this experience I learned that Yang Nai Nai is very independent. During the course of her entire life others have relied on her. In her childhood, her family relied on her to do chores and cook their meals. Now, her husband relies on her to provide money as he does not earn much.
Throughout this project, I became aware about how much Xizhou has changed in the past 60 years. When Yang Nai Nai was a child, most everyone the village worked as farmers. Now, the younger generation has a much better life and have much easier jobs.
When thinking about how much I learned about 20th Century Chinese history, I realize that Yang Nai Nai did not tell us much about this. She did however tell us that she is happy for the development of economics. This hints that many historical figures in Chinese history have helped develop the current day economy and that China has developed much more in the past 100 years than I imagined it could.
When we presented our video to Yang Nai Nai, we sat facing our audience. This way we could watch their reactions. The Linden family, Microcampus students, and our project partners were our audience. Each group shared their videos with their project partners, except for one group who's partner did not show up.
Our group was the first group to show their video so it felt a bit awkward to sit in the front of the room while everyone watched us. During the first minute of the video, the other Microcampus students were giggling a bit which made it more of an awkward experience for my group mates and me. Then they focused on the film and they started to appreciate it.
When watching Yang Nai Nai viewing our video, she seemed quite pleased. She did not show much reaction but you could tell by her slight nod that she was happy. When we said thank you to her at the end of all the film viewing, I felt very content with the work we had done.
I have a few recommendations for future Microcampus students who will be involved in a Service Learning project. The first recommendation is to connect with as many locals as possible so they have a plan A, B, C, D, E, etc. incase their first several locals do not end up working out. The second piece of advice I have is if they do not speak Chinese, to get their group mates to translate while they are having the conversation opposed to after. This way, they can also contribute by suggesting other follow-up questions. The final piece of guidance I have to offer is to get a head start on the making of the video. Once we had our conversation with Yang Nai Nai, we waited a while before we started working. This led to us rushing at the end and I would have much rather worked at the beginning and been able to take a break at the end.