Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Land of Sugar Cane

Chongzhou, land of the sugar cane, was a totally different landscape, 
as we drove along red dusty roads, fields high with sugar cane all along the way

                                                          Housing looked different too
                                                                The old beside the new

                                                                     Chongzhou families.........

We were on our way to meet girls from around Chongzhou whose families all farmed sugar cane, but were unable to raise enough to pay all the fees and support needs to enable their girls to stay at school.
 Life in rural Guangxi can be tough, even for hard-working families!
These girls have been supported largely by 2 families in the USA who adopted girls from this area. 
Thanks to the generosity and support from them and their wider families, 
the lives of these girls have been changed forever.

                    Some of the younger Chongzhou children, checking out the strange visitors :-)

Lovin the map of the world on the school wall - China-centred!
Interesting that we all see the world from OUR point of view?

                   We arrived just at bell-time with parents waiting & children rushing to the school-gates

                                                    Words of Wisdom on the School walls.........
                                                     Chongzhou children, excited, happy........
                                                 LOVE these beautiful faces...........
When we made it finally to the classrooms where we would met the girls supported by the US families, 
there were 6 girls nervously waiting.........
                             ......they were SO excited to receive mail and photos from their sponsors


                         Our staff made sure all the payments were made to the girls and recorded!

While many of the children in this area are poor, not all are!
Those who need extra support often feel like the "poor kids on the block", 
and like children the world over, fear what others may think of them? 
However when our girls receive visitors from the West, 
they are the envy of their class-mates who never receive such visits :-)
While we sometimes feel uncomfortable at the attention given to the "western visitor", 
we are delighted that the girls are made to feel special in the eyes of their peers:-)

                                               Kids on the outside, looking in............

                                     Our girls sending messages & thanks to their Sponsors!

                            The girls delighted to receive support, love and gifts from their sponsors
( must apologise for mine-who clearly had other things on their mind in every group photo that I found here :-)
Once again, all too soon..time to leave..the children gathering excitedly around Matthew
( and laughing at the crazy Westerner taking all the photos!)
                                                      View from outside the school gates
                                                         Goodbye from Chongzhou School!
                                                                             Til next time xxx

             Since that visit last October, we have been told of 7 new girls desperately needing help here

We have new sponsors for five of the girls already!!!!!!!!
But urgently need new sponsors for the last two!
Could you help change a child's life?
£10 a month
The Blessing will be Yours :-)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Angels with Broken Wings

It is hard to describe how exhausting it is sometimes when we are just on a roll. 
Although it was last October, I can still remember the feeling of elation and exhaustion, 
having just finished our visit to Desheng SWI, connected with some very special people
..........and enjoyed a wee wander downtown Desheng.

Thankfully there was time for a short snooze on the bus on the way from Desheng back to Hechi...
which was just as well...........
 ...because as we stepped into the Hechi Hotel foyer we had special visitors waiting patiently for us!

                          Peter, from Grace-Hope introduced us to a very special young lady.
                                         She stood up in the foyer and just sang her heart out

The Hotel Foyer fell silent...
you could have heard a pin drop!
We were awestruck...
......even more so when we translated the words and heard her story......

You can hear her song here( sorry the video clip will not upload?)

"I am the Angel with broken wings...

I say I have invisible wings
You say I am wandering around in the dark

I say I have New Hope

You and I cheer each other up in our life together
I wish only that my life can be meaningful

So give yourself a cheer
Do not lose courage and strength
Give yourself a cheer

The sun will rise tomorrow
With Love there can be Miracles……….
With Love there can be Miracles....."

                Two of the other children in this place also need miracles...they have complex needs

                            They are in Foster care with Grace-Hope, sponsored by Hope4China,

Amazingly, this lady ( part of a government organisation meeting at the Hotel) 
stopped to join in with the children in the foyer..she was amazed to see the children with special needs, actively involved with "foreigners". 
It turned out that one of her nephews was autistic and she was interested to know he could be helped. 
Chinese society is changing!

We spent some time connecting with the children, Alison using different musical techniques to get their attention and help them focus. It was so meaningful and very worthwhile, but we wish we could have done more to help.
 This year we are hoping to enlist the help of a GP who specialises in ADHD who can visit the children in China and prescribe effective medication where necessary to help the children and their foster parents to cope better with some of the behaviour.

Hong told us that she wished she could listen to her own music, so we left money with Peter and he arranged to get her an MP3 player.......

                                                 She was in heaven, listening to her own music!

However just this week we have learned that her MP3 is broken as so many others in the orphanage were borrowing it. We are arranging to buy some more for Hong and her friends in our trip this October.
If anyone would like to help purchase more of these please let us know?

You can Donate on the Paypal button here and mark it for Hong- MP3 Players. 
we will acknowledge and send photos of the donations.

Even more importantly we are working with friends who work with blind children in Beijing 
to see if Hong could find a place there for her future...........

                        With Love there can be Miracles……….

Friday, July 06, 2012

Yizhou Day

This has been such a busy year....we are already making plans for this year's Hope4China trip, and I have covered so little of last year's year we will make it!
We are just so thankful that there is so much we can do together to make a difference!
One of the highlights on a trip is always meeting the Guangxi Girls and seeing how much they have grown in height AND confidence. 
This year was extra special because Mrs Manna and Co were back again to meet the girl they have sponsored since 2005. 
It is clear to see in the photos how much this has meant to Lian and how delighted she was to meet with them all again
            It was also special for Linna to meet with her long time sponsor, Lady A for the first time!

Here is the whole Yizhou Team, with Sponsors, Teachers, Woman's Association along with some new girls who needed help...all excited to meet and share together.

This year, we were meeting mostly with the older girls, spending more time talking with them and more importantly listening. We wanted to hear more about how the girls were doing, how they felt  and what we could do together to make a difference

First task was to create a card to reflect their identity, likes,dreams etc........

This idea created lots of laughter, but settled down into quiet contemplation.....

We were able to go round the tables chatting with each group. At these times we are so thankful for Matthew's wonderful impromptu translating skills and of course the girl's growing confidence in speaking English. I am as always ashamed that my Chinese has not developed at quite the same rate :-(

                           Everyone had to take part ( some more artistic than others :-)
                                         But this one was very special ( can you spot the reason?)

Lovin the concentration here :-)

Our Paparrazzi Photographer then got on the case to take "mug-shots" to share with sponsors - 
this caused much hilarity too :-)

Job Done!!!!
 Simple Task- but we had all learned a little more about each other!

Hungry work...time to eat together!

                          After the tasty chicken, time for the by now famous Birthday Cake,
where we celebrate ALL of our Birthdays together,
as many of the girls never have Birthday Celebrations!!!!
In China, they do have this activity down to a fine art with everything you need provided - 
paper plates, knife, candles etc........
                                         ...and the girls do such a brilliant job of organising it all

Happy Birthday in Chinese and English to Celebrate ( along with the Sponsors) our Connections
                Then our new tradition, begun a few years back ( reflecting the ease of our relationships)
We had some Questions & Answers Time in the Pink Hat, 
where the girls could ask any questions they wanted and pop them in the HAT!
They wanted to know about life for their sponsors, why they wanted to help them, why we came......
It was great to be able to share our joy and pride in them and 
to remind them that they gave so much also to their sponsors!

Wonderful to share and keep on building connections....

Speaking of sharing............
......we were going to end with this photo of the 4 new girls who needed help. 
We are delighted that they all now have sponsors and can have hope for the future!!!!!

But can you spot the change here?
                                            One young lady, desperate to have the "granny beads"
                                                                         What could I say?
                                                                       Lots of crazy laughter.........

So after lots of laughter, 
some tears, 
great fun 
and genuine sharing, 
the privilege of being the connection between the sponsors and their girls...........

 I think this photo says it all?