The name of my elder partner is Mr. Li. He was born and currently lives in Xizhou. He is 76 years old and is a retired farmer. Nowadays, he sells supplies for people's death for extra money. He makes them by stamping red ink onto pieces of paper. He is very nice. He wants us to do good things when we grow up.
What I had learned about my elder as a result of this experience is a lot of things. I could tell that he did not regret his life, but feel that he could redo his life if he had the chance to. He gave us a lot of tips. Some examples are to take care of your teeth at a young age. Mr. Li's teeth that time were infected, and he said that he could not eat the food he wanted to eat anymore. Also, he had clearly told us that he gave us tips about life so that we could be good people when we grow up. He knows that we could do good in the future and take care of our world. We also learned that he is not afraid to tell sensitive things from him. He told us about how he is very close to death and how we, as kids, should appreciate life.
I did not really learn about Xizhou's history as the result of this experience. There were a lot of propagandas and most of the houses were abused in Xizhou for different reasons.
What I learned about the 20th Century Chinese history as a result of this experience is that Xizhou did not particularly get involved majorly, according to Mr. Li. When Chairman Mao died, everyone was sad. This showed how supportive the people were to Chairman Mao, and we can assume that he was likable in China. We also learned that all the farmers, including Mr. Li, at the time became military and fought for the country.
During the presentation, I was very excited. My group invited Mr. Li, our Service Learning partner. We also planned to invite our old potential service-learning partner at that time, Mr. Yang. We started by walking to Mr. Li's house, holding a basket of fruits. He was very pleased and told us not to spend money on these fruits. Anyway, later on, Mr. Li gave us a basket of his chicken eggs. He told us to boil them with hot water first and then eat them when we are hungry at the airport when we are about to leave Xizhou. Mr. Li was very nice. We then went to Mr. Yang's house and invited him to come with us to watch Mr. Li's video. Together, we walked to Yanzhuoran.
When watching our video, I could tell that Mr. Yang and Mr. Li were pleased, especially Mr. Li. He was very happy that we used his wise words in the video. There were times in the video that he talked about his regrets and death to us, and this really moved the audience. I was very happy with the Service Learning video and presenting it to people, especially to Mr. Li.
After the video, Mr. Li came to us filled with joy. Mr. Yang was also entertained, however, he had to leave early because of his work. I found out that Mr. Li is quite popular. He told us how when he was younger, he went to Yangzhuoran to play with the original owner's child. He always came there. He also knew Mr. Linden and Mr. Chen very well. We gave Mr. Li the DVD and he said that having the DVD costs a lot of money. He was grateful for having this for free. Together again, we walked him back to his house. We promised him to call back once we came back to Shanghai. He will always remember us, and we will always remember him. It was a great experience that we would not forget.
I have recommendations for future Microcampus students who will be involved in a Service Learning project. My first recommendation is to make as many connections as possible. This can give you a head start on finding your potential Service Learning partner. It is best to do it whenever you come out, even if the person you are walking with is not in your Service Learning group. My second recommendation is to focus on what we are supposed to be focusing on. Since our topic is mainly about China's past, my group asked more questions about China's past. Make sure to be careful in talking sensitive topics, such as the past. We had asked him about this after we know that Mr. Li is comfortable in talking about them.
To watch the video, please click here.