One of them is called Yang Nai Nai and the other is called Deng Nai Nai. They are best friends and are neighbors. Yang Nai Nai is 72 years old and Deng Nai Nai is 69 years old. For a living, they both like sell and make embroidery.
My group's service learning partners were called Yang and Deng Nai Nai. Yang Nai Nai's full name is 杨国兰 ( Yang Guo Lan) and Deng Nai Nai's full name is 邓秀芳 ( Deng Xiu Fang). Yang Nai Nai has always lived in Xizhou; although, she moved houses around 3 years ago. On the other hand, Deng Nai Nai used to live in Lijiang and around 30 years ago, she moved to Xizhou. Adding on they have been neighbors for around 30 years or more years.
From this experience, I learned that both my service learning partners have witnessed and gone through an unforgettable past; and not a good unforgettable past. I also learned that we should conserve and appreciate everything we have right now, instead of wasting and complaining about everything. Another thing I learned from this experience is that no matter how hard the conditions are, we will get through it no matter what.
Throughout this process, I learned that the Xizhou people have been through a life with no fresh or clean water, not enough food to feed a family, and not enough electricity that can go around every household. I have also learned that many Xizhou family members are living alone now because many family members either left to a different part of China, or they died from starvation. As a result, Xizhou's people have lived through a harsh environment and society.
By interviewing Yang Nai Nai and Deng Nai Nai, I learned many factors about the 20th Centuries Chinese history. For instance, I learned that many local folks have faked their earnings to please the government. Also, most families would take their limited amount of meat, wipe it around their lips, so then they could tell the inspectors that they are full and are living a happy and fulfilling life when they are not. Another factor I learned about the 20th century, was the fact that because people wanted to please the government, many people died from starvation. Last factor I learned from my service learning partner was the fact that many of the villagers would drink water from the gutters while they were working in the fields; adding on, the water was not necessarily the cleanest because they not only washed their hands in them, but they also wash their clothes within.
Luke, Shanan and I shared our projects with Yang Nai Nai and Deng Nai Nai for the first time. At the start, I was pretty scared because I really hoped they would like the video. The period of time before our movie was played, I sat in my chair quietly and tried to relax; but, I could feel my heart beat pound within my chest. I could feel the sweat form on my palms and it was all pretty nerve- racking. As the other groups' videos went by, I could feel my body getting all jittery and it was all so suspenseful. Luke, Shanan and my project was last, we got up and walked towards the front of the class. We briefly introduced ourselves and thanked Yang Nai Nai and Deng Nai Nai. We then sat down and watched our audience.
While we were sharing our video with Yang Nai Nai and Deng Nai Nai, in between clips, they would start smiling which had a warm feeling on me; their smile brightened up my whole day. Most of the time, it would be Deng Nai Nai being really happy with a large smile on her face, tapping and nudging Yang Nai Nai during the movie. Something I noticed about Yang Nai Nai was that during the movie, while she was talking about the recommendations for us in the future, she would be mouthing out the words as the movie played on. I could tell she really meant what she said. Another thing I noticed was the fact that when they were talking about the sad times of their lives, all the other service learning partners from the other groups were nodding and agreeing. Adding on, Yang Nai Nai and Deng Nai Nai's faces went straight during that part as well, and when they started to talk about how they have great lives now, there mouths went up as well. Finally, when we played our last scene, which was a picture of all of us doing the peace sign; both Yang Nai Nai and Deng Nai Nai smiled and giggled a bit as well.
Throughout this sharing, I got to understand what it was like watching other human beings look and enjoy movies I made of them. Getting to know them was definitely a highlight of the trip. Also, by going through this process, I got a chance to really get to know Yang Nai Nai and Deng Nai Nai. They are the most wonderful and sweetest elders I have ever met and I will definitely try to keep in touch with them. While I was talking to them after the showing, we all agreed that we would try to send letters to each other through the teachers hopefully. Concluding it all, I personally think this is an experience I will never forget and never want to forget.
There are quite a lot of recommendations I would like to mention to the future Microcampus students. For instance, make sure they know if someone int he past has been done this service learning partner before or not, because sooner or later, they will find out that they have wasted their time interviewing someone who has already been done before. Another recommendation is the fact that they should start getting to know people on the first few days of their trip. Adding on, they should start getting to know people older than 60 years old, because from my experience, it would help you a lot when they actually start working on their service learning. Another factor is make sure they get a good camera angle because it will definitely make their video better quality and more interesting. Last but not least, make sure they get enough footage of every possible question, because when they start making their movie, it will definitely help them. Last factor I want to remind them is that when they make their movies, they should split up the jobs instead of making one person do everything. Also, they should make sure they have equal roles in the movie, because it is quite stressful and making one person do it is not fair, and they will definitely not be able to finish on time.