For our group, our service learning partner was Mr. Zhao. As he was the main person of source for Orion, we already had a great connection with him. He is currently 73 years old, and he is currently retired and living in his house. However, his house is very interesting as it was formerly used for a living quarter and a radar station for the Flying Tigers unit 69 years ago. He has a wife and two children, however his wife passed away. He was very kind of him as he provided great explanation about his life for our video.
From this experience, I have took away things from my elder. I realized that although he was very shy and reluctant at first, I found out that he was actually very kind in terms of describing his life. Also, we realized that many elders still admire Chairman Mao.
Since he lived his whole life in Xizhou and Dali, we could experience a lot with the conditions of Xizhou. According to his sayings, he has traveled a lot in China, but it turns out Xizhou is the best for him because of the great air! Also, we found out that Xizhou was mainly a farm land, which was surprising because now it is mainly a tourist attraction.
Through this experience, he also explained his life during the times of Chairman Mao's ruling. We found out that many elders still believe that what Mao did was beneficial to the country, as it made everyone equal. Also, his explanation included that he admired the Chairman's thoughts on serving the people and the nation.
At the final day of our work, we had to present our video to our partner Mr. Zhao. Unfortunately, since he had health problems that day, he could not come to the Linden Centre for our presentation. However, we could eventually get to him by visting his house later in the afternoon. When we entered his house, we had difficulties making him watch it at first because he refused the fruit that we offered as a gift. It was very cool for us to see him refuse the gift, because it confirmed his kindness.
When we entered his residence after our original presentation time, he was still happy to see us all. We sat down at a good place to watch, and we played the video on Chelsea's computer. His face started to warm up into a giant smile. Every second the movie passed, his emotions became very nice, as his smile became bigger and bigger. After the video finished, he was thanking us for all the efforts and work, as we gave him the CD drive as a gift.
For the future students who will be doing the same process, I have several recommendations for future students. First of all, I would recommend to stay on top of the schedule. Once you go behind in terms of schedule, it is difficult to go back because it will go over what you can do for daily progress. Secondly, I would recommend have lots of back up people as a possible service learning partner. Since the people might disagree with filming their life story, so make sure to have many people to film. Last but not least, make sure to plan the film dates. Sometimes, the elder may leave the town for a few days, so it benefited us when we planned everything for the filming dates.