Our Service Learning partner is Mr. Zhang. He is 79 years old and helps out at his daughter's Xizhou Baba shop.
Mr. Zhang's full name is 张画彩. He has 2 sons, 1 daughter, and 1 grandson. He lives apart from his sons and daughter and lives with his wife. He helps kneed the dough and cook the Xizhou Baba at his daughter's shop.
I learned that Mr. Zhang has suffered some severe losses in his life, but he has stayed strong and never let himself down. He has worked really hard throughout his life to make everything the best it can be, but at the same time, he knows how to add humor into his story and life. He brought joy and happiness to us even though his life went through ups and downs.
I learned that Xizhou has significantly changed throughout Mr. Zhang's life. There is now more and more tourists and the ways of living has changed. It was very interesting to see how the changes on Xizhou effected Mr. Zhang's personal life.
I learned that the 20th Century China was very different from now because they did not have such an easy and calm life. There was the Cultural Revolution, wars, liberation and the reform of China during Mr. Zhang's life and he was also a solider for a part of his life meaning he had to fight in some of those wars. It was hard living through the 20 Century in China because lots of things happened.
For our Service Learning sharing, we invited many locals and a few friends from Shanghai and Chicago. It was really nice to see some familiar faces from Shanghai. Mr. Zhang was able to come and watch our video. It was a very unique and interesting thing since we were looking at the audience watch our video instead of watching it ourselves. I saw a lot of people tearing up and getting all sad when Mr. Zhang talked about the losses he had in his life. It was not something you would do often but it is a great way to see how your video turned out. I saw everyone really enjoying their time here.
When Mr. Zhang was watching our video. He looked very happy and had a wide smile on his face. He looked very content and touched by our video. It was not an every day experience but it was a very fascinating one. I saw how effective our video was when I saw people tearing up and Mr. Zhang with that big smile on his face. He has been very kind to all of us and very helpful throughout this process, he was willing to come even though his families business was very busy when he left. This sharing has turned out way better than I expected.
My advice to future Microcampus students when they are doing their Service Learning project is:
1. Be brave and make many good and close connections with the locals early on. Not when you are about to do Service Learning.
2. Film in a quiet location or have another voice recording with a better audio.
3. Help the person who is doing most of the editing by doing simple tasks and do not just fool around or think you do not need to do anything when you are not editing
4. Film your video early on in the process and get lots of different footages.
5. Be dialled in and really focused or else you will not finish on time.