Our Service learning partner was Mr Yan, he is 72 years old and he has his own shop as well as a care taker of the local temple.
Part 1 - Preparation:
To start our service learning project we were given interview articles of elders in China. Many of them are over 75 and have lived through the Liberation and the cultural revolution. As I read the article of Chen Tingtao, I think some possible questions they might have asked him are:
- How was life during such a hectic period?
- What were some difficult growing up?
- What was your job during these times?
- How did the cultural revolution effect your life?
- How did it effect your family?
- How did the civil war effect your money income?
A couple of possible candidates for service learner are:
- Ms Ma who works at the bakery- she has been very open about my questions I ask her on my inquiry project. However I do not know
- Mr Du at the temple- he is 80 years old (meets requirement) and he seems very nice and open to answer our questions.
- Ms Wang who is at the morning market- she always likes to have a good talk, we are not sure of her age though.
- Mr Yan runs the local temple- He has helped Jessica multiple times on her inquiry project. Jessica is pretty sure he is old enough and he is extremely welcoming.
Our group has decided on Mr Yang, he is a very friendly hand who has helped Jessica in her project about religion multiple times. Mr Yan runes the local temple that worships 3 religions. He is 72 years old, he part time runs the temple and he also has this own shop just up the hill of the temple. We know he is in the temple on week days but we are not sure where he is during weekends. So we need to find out, for our connivance so we do not disturb him when he is busy.
Next I cam listing possible questions we can ask after I have introduced our selves:
First time meeting:
What is your first name?
How old are you?
Did you grow up in XiZhou?
How has XiZhou change in time?
How many children do you have?
Where are your children?
What are some of your hobbies?
Second time meeting:
How was life like growing up?
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
What was the time of your life that you most enjoyed?
Third time meeting:
What are some difficulties your family had then you were young?
Did the cultural revolution effect it?
Were you and your family members tight?
What is a exciting story you can tell us?
How has your life changed over time?
Are you happy?
What do you wish you have done differently?
After interviewing Mr Yan for so long I have heard many of his stories, I learnt that only keeping a positive attitude can get you through hard times. If not then you will get engulfed by sadness. You have to fight through the situation, Mr Yan never gave up fighting and letting those people break his house. Now he is living in it peacefully. I learnt that during the Liberation and Cultural Revolution, many ugly things happened and many people died. However who survived can tell us a great story and give us a little feeling of what has happened in the past. I see that the elders are a lot more relaxed because they grew up in such a hectic time.
Sitting there against the wall, facing the crowd while our service learning partner was watching the short film we made about him, was very nerve-racking. I also very exciting sharing the experience if had here for 28 days with Mr Yan whom I have made deep connection with and trust. Another truly fascinating thing is Mr Yan went to pick up his relative who was also a service partner, and they were walking down the road side by side talking to each other. Seeing two old men walking side by side who have been through so much and are still so happy is really just breathtaking.
During the presentation, I was quite nervous on how Mr Yang would react to the video. But, he stayed calm and watched it with care. Which was very nice of him, he even managed a few smiles. After the presentation he thanked the four of us and shaked our hands warmly, he looks like he enjoyed the film. I was very please with my work and glad I found Mr Yan at the temple.
A advice to all microcampus students who are doing service learning: Firstly, MAKE CONNECTIONS FAST even if you think it is silly to make them so soon, at least try. Secondly, keep on visiting them. Thirdly, make more than one connections so you have someone else to go to if your first option does not want to film.