Service Learning is about going out of the bubble and interact with the locals. The four of us, Harry, Alina, Narelle, and I, have created a video illustrating the life of Mr. Du Xing Long (杜兴龙). We got to know him through Mr. Tafel and he is now our service learning partner. He is 64 this year and the owner of a private antique shop. All service learning work would be located on Narelle S.'s workspace.
Mr. Du Xing Long is a very wise man. Through all the hardship he has been through, he has a lot to share. He enjoys giving advice to young people like us. This shows his compassion and his regrets in his life. From young, he really wanted to study, but he just did not have the money. He is telling us to study hard because we have the opportunity. Mr. Du appears very strong, but actually, he is very aware of the bitterness that he has been through during his childhood.
Xizhou was a very small village last time. Only about a few hundred people lived here. Xizhou did not develop as fast as the other cities in China; thus in some parts of Xizhou, the history of China had left a trace.
I learned that during the rule of Chairman Mao, people's lives were very bitter. Especially during the "Three Years of Natural Disasters" (Great Leap Forward), people struggled to survive. Mr. Du cannot even afford a pair of grass slippers. Life was not very good in Xizhou during the 20th Century.
Harry, Alina, Narelle, and I went to pick Mr. Du Xing Long up at his home. We travelled to Sifang Jie and continued walking towards the market. Then we made a right turn at a junction and Mr. Du was standing there, all ready to go. He seemed really excited. I asked whether his wife would be going but he said she was too busy today. We took about ten minutes to get to the Linden Centre. When we got there, it was two fifty-nine, we were just on time. We hurried to the TV room and the Annual Service Learning Presentation has begun.
First up was Matthew's team, sadly their partner did not come. Next was Austin's team. Their service learning partner was Mrs. Yang the teacher. She was very old but she was very knowledgeable. After that was Mr. Li; he brought some pamphlets for us all. He claimed that if you can read the whole thing, you are a genius. Last but not least was our service learning partner, Mr. Du Xing Long. I could see him anxiously waiting for this moment. I really hoped I did not disappoint him. Mr. Tafel took off the green Taidai which was covering the screen and the video began. Harry, Alina, Narelle, and I were on a lookout for errors. And in fact, the first slide which said our names, had my Chinese name spelled wrongly. My Chinese name was supposed to be 刘育涵 not 刘玉罕. We carried on with the movie and we found some slides in which we cannot see his face. That was bad too.
Even though we had many mistakes, we still put in a lot of hard work. I really hope Mr. Du was not disappointed. At least the translation was pretty accurate. I am really happy that I got to do something like this. In school, there is no such time to interact with locals and make a movie about their lives. Plus, in Shanghai, people would judge you if you try to interview them. This is a really great opportunity and I wish every Microcampus student would enjoy it.
I recommend that future MIcrocampus students start service learning earlier. This might sound like an obvious recommendation but it is very true. From Day 1 you should be begin your service learning project and part of it, is to make as many connections as possible. A couple of my friends had a service learning partner bail out at the last second. Luckily, they had enough connections so they found a new one the very same day. The last recommendation would be to take your time to film. Make sure that you do not have a shaky camera, little background noise, good lighting, and artistic backgrounds. We regret taking the time to do all the niceties before we started filming.