Let me begin by saying I have visited throughout the years, many, many schools in this country. As a matter of fact, right next door to our complex is a grade school and a high school. It is funny to hear the little guys singing "I'm a Little Tea Pot" song in Mandarin outside during exercise class. Yes, these children go outside to exercise and to play. It helps to burn off some of that daily energy they expand while being couped up inside during classes. Here in China, the children have a couple outside play periods each day. Hmmmm, wonder if that would be a good thought to return to in US schools. Some fresh air.
These school trips have always been a rewarding experience but this past Sunday was a little different.
I went on a trip Sunday to visit a China children's middle school (compare to a high school in the US). The students are a funded project for the last eight years by the Beijing Rotary Club in an outlying village about a two hour drive from Beijing. Sunday I met 25 of these young students. What an experience and as we talked with them about their goals and objectives we learned something of their family struggles. You have no idea about struggles if you live in the USA, trust me. It was interesting to here time after time that the student felt his/her grades were poor. These young people are diligent and maintain high grades A's and lowest is a B, certainly nothing to be ashamed of in my opinion. One student said how the mother had died, the father could not afford to maintain the student and the students sister, so the sister was given away. That is only ONE of the heart-rendering stories. The staff and major of the village were surprised that the student's discussed their hardships with us. I was also. They are so grateful for the support they are receiving that doing anything to provide them with an education is rewarding just to see their smiles and their hopefulness for their futures.
Needless to say, they sent along thank you cards for all the help they have received throughout these eight years to the members of the club. This week I am privileged to make for each of these students and donate a handmade card encouraging them to continue with their endeavors. It is my great joy in making these cards that in turn will be given with a personal note written to each student by an individual Rotarian. What fun this is and I am glad before I return to the USA, to do this. I have already finished five cards and only twenty more to go. I have all week. This is so much fun. Bye for now.