I learned many things about Hong Cheng Yin during the Service Learning project. She was born in Lijiang in 1949 and married into Xizhou when she was 19. Hong Nai Nai talked about her children, marriage, her health problems, the government, her hobbies, and how the area has changed since she was young.
Hong Nai Nai didn't talk too much about history specifically, but she did talk about not having much when she was young. She mentioned not having proper clothing and that she had to make her own sandals by weaving grass since she did not have enough money to buy proper shoes. She also talked about how she was given land and how she gets taken care of by the government, which was not the case in the past. Since she was originally from Lijiang she didn't talk too much about Xizhou's history.
I would recommend that they start connecting with elders as early as possible, something that I made the mistake of not doing. Also, they should start filming as early as possible, that way they will not only have more footage of their partner, they will also be able to start editing earlier than other groups. I would recommend showing the video to Mr. T and exporting the video sooner rather than later that way you'll have more time to fix mistakes which will make for a relatively stress-free Service Learning process.
Our partner couldn't make it to the presentation on Wednesday, but we showed her our video today after lunch. Showing our Service Learning partner our video was really interesting and made me feel like I was really doing something for her. Although our partner, Hong Nai Nai, was hesitant to let us film her and share her story, she seemed really excited to watch the video. While watching it, she looked almost as if she was about to cry. Hong Nai Nai was smiling throughout the video and said she was really happy with what we did.
Now I understand why this project is called Service Learning. It might not seem like a service, but I really think its important that we learn about them and try to tell their stories. I remember when we first asked Hong Nai Nai if she wanted to be filmed, she told us that she wasn't cultured and that she had an ordinary, uninteresting life. What I found is that she had much more to say about her life and what she had been through than she might have thought herself. It was really nice getting to know her, and she gave her number to us in hopes that we could call her after flying back to Shanghai. I'm really happy with what we did for her and I hope she was too.