Sunday, November 22, 2009

Another wonderful day in Yizhou - School, Homes & KFC

We were really excited to be going to Yizhou Middle School
to teach a class & meet with some of our very special GGEF girls there.

A rough translation of the red welcoming poster is....

Welcome to our British & American Friends.

Brilliant to be there along with the Women's Association and our very own Xu Yang Yang ;-)

The school and its surroundings were very beautiful.

The kids were sooo excited to see "foreign visitors", all hanging off verandahs, trying to look cool :-)

.....these things are the same all over the world!!!!!!

It was great to go in & meet a class of around 70 High School students all keen and eager to learn.
It was such a pleasure to teach & share with them.

We spoke about Global Citizenship (the In-Thing in Scottish schools)!
We put up the headings of China, Scotland & USA.

A testament to how busy our schedule is when we are there......Cindy & I did not have a minute to discuss how this would go..
I just put up the headings and off we went!
We just "go with the flow...."

It was wonderful to see how the hopes, feelings & aspirations of all three countries was so similar!

The students listened well, although they do have some difficulty with the Scottish accent,
since all of them do learn "American", not English :-)

We had some wonderful exchanges about the values we share around the world. We looked at photos of life in Scotland, students & classrooms at Buckhaven High School
The students spent some time asking questions....and then we ended with our old favourite,
Auld Lang Syne!
Matthew had primed some of our GGEF girls who were in the class and they had prepared everyone, so we had a wonderful rendering of our famous song :-)

Some homework going on outside :-)

Group photos alongside Confucius (in the background)
...and some news crews & journalists following us around!

We said goodbye to the class & teachers with promises of emails and letters to follow

.....and wandered down to the Noticeboards where the top students photos are displayed.
Our lovely Zhang Zhang is above :-)
The teacher pointed out out that many of the GGEF girls( that is girls whose family could not afford to send them to school & who are supported by Hope4China & GGEF)
were amongst the top students in the school.
That does not surprise me as as they are such hard-working, enthusiastic girls.
They so value the chance they have been given to have hope for the future - they are a real inspiration to our students here who take it all for granted and often complain about so much.
It makes for some really interesting lessons in my classroom:-)

Daily exercise to get the old brain cells working :-)

The dorms where the students live in for the week - usually 4 to a room with a basic shower/toilet facility to share

We then left the school with the GGEF girls from this area and drove out to visit some of the girls homes.

Some beautiful spots, but many desparately poor homes along the way.

We were so proud of the girls and their families, who were so proud to welcome us to their homes.
This wonderful girl works long hours at school, comes home & sweeps the bare floors & prepares food for her mother coming home from work. There is no luxury, only the bare minimum...yet this girl does so much to help her mother, whom she loves more than words( as she told Matthew), and is such a wonderful friend & support to the other girls in their group. They stick together & support each other so well.
GGEF ( Matthew & faithful sponsors) have given these girls so much...and they have given so much back to the community already.
Can you tell we love them and are sooo proud of them????

One of the other girls showed me this sign, which was the only "decoration" in her house & explained to me that it meant "Welcome"
I asked her if it was OK to take a photo & she was delighted :-)

I also loved this little Bonsai tree growing in a tiny square.

A traditional good luck banner from New Year

Some of the local girls having a good laugh at the crazy foreigners...
while the GGEf girls walked ahead.

We just loved this wee poppet, who knew even in her early years that we looked a bit "different"

Two forms of transport in Yizhou......

It's always amazing what can be fitted on a bike!

After visiting the girls homes we were all going to the Chinese KFC to celebrate & share gifts with the girls. The van was provided, but we decided we would prefer to walk with the girls along the roads. We were all waiting at this corner as a teacher had gone off to buy us all some fruit to thank us fror coming to their school.
It was so special.
Very deep & meaningful conversations with the girls as we wandered and took in the sights, sounds & smells

More of the girls met us at the restaurant - it felt so good to see them again.
Some of the girls are old friends from Desheng but are now studying at Yizhou MiddleSchool

The girls were so excited to be at MKC - Chinese KFC

We wanted to just make sure we had all the names, cos this is the point at which Cindy & I are terrified that someone has turned for whom we do not have a gift.....
Somehow it always works out (we do take extras)
We cannot tell you how excited the girls were to receive their T-shirts from their Sponsors/Friends around the world!

We could not believe how soon it was time to say goodbye......

A special hug for a VERY special girl :-)
Next Year.............
Thank you so much to all the sponsors of our Yizhou girls who make this life possible for them.
Hope we have shared something of how wonderful they are and how much your help means to them.
Linda & Cindy