Updated 4 years 2 months ago

My group's Service Learning partner was Ms. Yang, a very kind 65 year old who makes her own hand made crafts/decorations and sells them herself.

I learned many things about Ms. Yang through this experience. When she was young her life was hard, but now she lives much more comfortably. She feels she fulfilled all her responsibilities and now takes life easy.

When Ms. Yang was young Xizhou was not in as good of a condition as it is today. The structure of the houses were not as good. When it rained 2 or 3 houses would come down. Ms. Yang only attended up to middle school.

Ms. Yang was alive during the cultural revolution. She had to juggle studying, work and farming. It was very hard for her. She had to alternate. When she was not studying or working she was farming, but the kids farming did not get paid, they were forced to farm.

Our group had not finished our video until the morning of the day we were supposed to share. After we finished a few of us went to pick up Ms. Yang and offered her some fruit as a thank you. She stubbornly refused to take the fruit then after minutes of trying she gave us some of her hand made crafts. 3 fish and 2 butterflies. They were all very nice looking and I ended up with a fish. She did not want us to walk her to Yang Zhou Ran either, she said she would prefer to get their on her own time.
Once it was our turn to share Ms. Yang was still not their. It was disappointing. Our whole group wanted her to see the video we had made about her life and the stories she told us. Even though she was not their our group could still observe the expressions of the other audience members. In school when I present a video I am usually nervous, hoping the class and the teacher likes it so I can get a good grade. Although here it was different, we were not getting a grade. We were just sharing so others could see what we learned. I was not nervous, neither was my group. Ms. Yang's kindness was infectious. When she laughed I saw other people smiling as well. I am proud of the video my group made. Although Joanne did most of the work as she is the only Chinese speaker in our group. Thank you Joanne and thank you Ms. Yang.

About This Learner

Hi, my name is Cole and I am a student, who is a part of an amazing experience known as "Microcampus". What I and my peers are doing is going out to a village called Xizhou. In Xizhou we will be escaping the "bubble" we live in in Shanghai. In Xizhou I am and will continue to experience real Chinese culture.