Saturday 8 May 2010

Adventures in China

After an incredibly long journey, we arrived in a city where we were to stay. It was a large city of about 7 million people, (although for the Chinese, they would call it a small-medium sized town) high up in the mountains (2,000metres). The altitude was hard to cope with at first and we needed to drink a lot of water. You'd wake up in the middle of the night gasping for water; the air was very dry. The apartment we stayed in was very nice and clean with a live-in maid.

It was strange at first to adapt to the culture of eating all meals out. This is not something that is done on a special occasion in China, rather a daily occurrence for most. It is the culture and custom to share dishes and offer each other food. We thought our daily food budget of $2US per person was crazy and we expected to either starve or live on pot noodles. However, we discovered that we could eat out for three meals comfortably (in local 'simple' restaurants) for this money. Foreign foods, however, like KFC or Pizza Hut was an expensive treat!

Probably our most challenging, yet very rewarding activity were our trips to a school for poor, unregistered and orphaned children. On our first visit, without any prior warning, we were each asked to teach two 15minute English lessons – one after the other. Being totally unprepared, we had to frantically think on our feet (there were hundreds of children, split into groups of 40!). Thankfully we had translators, so we managed to survive. But, keeping the children's attention for such a length of time proved difficult. Our favourite thing to do there was playing with the very little ones, who were all incredibly
cute (over forty 2-4 year olds).

Becky and Li. Particularly, Becky got attached to a little girl called Li who took an instant liking to Becky and was very friendly, jumping and climbing all over us.

The orphanage was run by a kung foo master, so all the children learned Kung foo which they all performed to us (even the little ones had a go, which was very cute). Becky was tempted to adopt little Li but unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), she was already adopted by the Kung foo master!

We also visited other schools where we taught English and performed South African dances. Many Chinese have never actually met a foreigner, so this was a very big deal for these children and gave the schools a more privileged status in the community. As thankyou's we were given traditional minority ethnic paintings.

We spent a lot of time visiting various universities, English corners where students come to practice their English. We were told many times that we were the first foreigners that they'd ever met and they wanted to build a friendship and keep in touch.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

when i saw your pic playing with the water that i knew you were in the most beautiful place in China¡
Good luck with everything¡