Heartwarming smiles and expressions of kindness is what led our Service Learning Group to Yang Nai Nai. Yang Nai Nai is 83 years old, her daily work is assembling shoe pads for the inner soles of shoes. She is our remarkable and unforgettable Service Learning partner. This is her story, and it is an inspiring story to tell.
Our Service Learning Partner's full name was Yang Ru Ying. I usually call her Yang Nai Nai, which means Grandmother Yang. She was born in 1933. She works every morning making homemade soles for the inner part of shoes. Every morning when I come out of Yang Zhuo Ran, I enjoy greeting her in the little alleyway where her she works at her stand. She lives in the house connecting to the alleyway where she works. Yang Nai Nai has 6 children.
Although I slightly knew this about her from the way she presents herself, I learned in more depth how much of a noble and respectable pesron she is. Yang Nai Nai has six children, and her only goal in life was to have all of her children live a life better than hers. It is inspiring that she wanted such an amazing life for her children, and she put so much effort into making them successful. She is my role-model, as I hope that one day, I can be able to be as good of a mother as she is to her children.
Yang Nai Nai also informed our group of the hardships that she suffered throughout her childhood. She was not able to complete any education, so she is unable to read and write. The teachers also discriminated against students and there was never any time to go to school, so Yang Nai Nai would have to help out at home. In terms of Xizhou history, this opened my eyes up to how serious the situation was for elders in the village and how much they were deprived of what we consider today to be human rights.
Mr. T's Lesson on Chinese History allowed me to see so much more than what I thought about Chinese culture. From his lesson, I was able to connect with Yang Nai Nai and understand what she was reffering to when she said that there was not enough food during the pressure of the Cultural Revoltuion, and this is why an abundance of elders in the village are very short. Yang Nai Nai was 33 years old during the beginning of the cultural revolution, when she was providing for her children. Yang Nai Nai and her husband had 8 people to support, and only earning a scarce amount of food.
Experience of Sharing Final Video:
For future Microcampus students participating in the Service Learning project, I strongly advise you to make connections early! It is important that you build a bond with your Service Learning partner ahead of schedule, so you are not worried about filming, and instead focused on learning about your Service Learning Partner's story and making the most of your time with them. Secondly, I reccomend that you film on multiple days, with multiple shots and videos of them working, talking and living their daily lives. At first, this may seem insignificant, but this is immensely the difference between an OK video and an amazing video. Finally, visit your Service Learning partner as much as you can. You want them to feel comfortable in this process, and you want them to become your family throughout the month. Good luck, the people in this village have many interesting stories to share.
Thank you so much Yang Nai Nai! I've learned so much from your story and continue to be aspired. I will remember you for the rest of my life.