Monday, November 25, 2013

Mountains & Miracles!

 Setting off on the road to Du An and Lalie, deep in the mountains and valleys
 Many of the homes of our girls were nestled in deep valleys, with no running water or electricity until very recently.
 Life here is hard!
But the views are just stunning!!!!
 We met a sprightly eighty four year old Grandpa, walking the long journey thro the mountains to town in Lalie. Turns out his grand-daughter, now a paediatricain in Yizhou, was one of our first Guangxi Girls :-)
                                               He recognised Matthew
                                           Precious Connections!

We arrived at the home of a wonderful old gentleman in Lalie, 
who first contacted Matthew years ago 
to ask if he could help the girls in the valleys

He opens his home each time our Team visits and helps with looking after the girls - it was an amazing place to meet!

We just loved the history in his home......
and it was great for Cammy to share with the girls about all of their hopes for the future!

                            and then the son of the home, made us all lunch!!!!

                 Wonderful hospitality in rural, and poor Guangxi!

And then Lucy had the girls get down to the hard work of filling in their questionnaires to send to their sponsors

                              Support money all paid out and accounted for
                                         Watched by their very appreciative mamas, who truly appreciate this chance for their girls!
   The girls also received beautiful scarves, and Scottish hearts from Hope4China!
                                                       Happy Girls :-)
                                  And truly a privilege to have been there!
      Then heading back thro the mountains to Du An to see our High School girls

Du An High School

As the girls started to arrive for our meeting, we kinda took over an Ice-cream parlour at the School gate - the owners were happy to share their premises with us? Can't see that happening at home?
                           Helen got busy taking photos to send to sponsors

      Some great informal chat going on with Cammy, our visiting Scottish student

                                                Cammy in Action!!!!

             Very interesting to share world views from across the world.....

We shared dinner with the girls and continued the chat.....before all too soon, we had to say goodbye.....
Special times!
Thank you to all our Du An sponsors who have so faithfully helped our girls over the years.
We hope this offers a wee insight into life there.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Meeting our Guangxi Girl - Guest Blog from a Sponsor.

Meeting our Guangxi Girl          By  Natasha Vidic

Our family has been sponsoring Guangxi girls for several years, and our present student SiSi since 2010. 
Despite letters, photos, and even a short video, she remained an abstraction until we met her last month. 

We took the opportunity to travel with Hope4ChinaChildren to Guangxi Province in October 2013. 

During our trip, we met with SiSi twice and found out she had a lively personality.
SiSi is happy to see a pink T-shirt we brought her.

She was sick and a bit subdued when we first met, but nevertheless enjoyed checking the presents we brought for her. We found out that pink is her favorite color! My daughter and I practiced our Mandarin while SiSi practiced her English. At the end, we lined up for the customary group photo on the stairs of Majestic hotel (Nanning). I turned to SiSi and said:  ‘Nǐ shì wǒ de nǚ'ér’ or ‘You are my daughter’, a sentence I dug from my humble repertoire of Mandarin. She gave me a strange look, and I thought I must have offended her. Or said something really weird instead.
Team group photo on the Hotel Majestic stairs.

However, when we met again and she gave us a beautiful scrapbook she put together for us, I got to see that she understood. She lost her mother when she was 10, so what I said meant a lot to her. 

She will indeed remain akin to my daughter and an older sister to my daughters.
She was very sad after her mother died, but she stayed strong and set out to make the best of her life because her mother asked her so. She enjoyed being a high school student in Yizhou. She found summer jobs, and gave back by tutoring younger students. She is now a major of radio and TV journalism at the Nanning University. She is thinking about graduate school when done. 

We were happy to see that she is enjoying university, working hard, and enjoying life.

Sisi’s scrapbook.

The last page of SiSi’s scrapbook brought tears to our eyes.

It was wonderful to meet with SiSi,! However, what impressed me the most about the sponsorship program were the young ladies who benefited from the program, got college degrees, and now lead successful careers. 

Such as Lucy, who helps manage the sponsored girls program for Hope4ChinaChildren. 
She is a very competent and personable young lady. 

We all love Lucy!
Lucy (middle) with my Guangxi girl and her little sister.

Another example is a young lady we met in Guilin with her 3 year old daughter. She was so proud having a good job in international business. So much so that she tried to pay for a meal for over 20 people in a fancy restaurant. These young alumnae of the program are very well aware that their life would be very different were they not able to get an education through sponsorship, and they are very grateful for the opportunities.

Hope4ChinaChildren sponsorship program alumna with her daughter 
and Xu lao shi (we call him Matthew).

So, next time I get a reminder that sponsorship is due, I will not contemplate discontinuing my support like I have pretty much every year because of many expenses that keep cropping up. During our visit I saw that our contributions make a great difference in these girls’ lives. 
We are also building connections for my Guangxi daughter, she is gaining ‘older sisters’. 
However, I hope that in time opportunities in China will improve and foreign sponsorship will no longer be needed. 

Although we did meet a crop of new young girls who need sponsors, and one of them is tugging at my heart… 


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