The challenges of the week have been quite different for each project. For some, there has been physically demanding work like laying water pipes, for others caring for disabled children and teaching English, and for others still working on environmental project.
Teachers and students have been posting daily updates and photos on Tumblr. See the links below.
Here is a snapshot from each project so far.
Year 6 – Zheng Zhou and the Shaolin Monastery
Day 2: Yesterday we went to visit the amazing Shaolin Monestery, where some students taught us fantastic and tiring Kung Fu sequences. Then we tried to present this to our Kung Fu masters (but it was really hard and we did not succeed). After we performed the tiring and complicated sequence, we went to eat lunch. Once we had finished lunch, we taught football to some 12-16 year olds! In our group there was: Luca, Josh, Araya, Mia, Ciro, Thibault, Silvia, Ben and Adrienne. We taught them 4 lessons, each one lasted half an hour. It was very difficult to teach them since they didn’t understand English (well they did but very little). The matches we played at the end were the funnest because we were like the best so it was quite fun. In the afternoon we played a game where the four taggers chased after the rest, but if a tagger touched you, you had to lie on the floor and wait for four people to take you to the mats in the middle, once you were on the mats you could be freed if someone touched you on the hand. After we had finished the game we visited an English school and talked to some of the students. Then we went back to our hotel and rested for a while. Later that evening, we went to a restaurant and had some food with some of the Kung Fu students that we played with earlier. Once we were done, we all celebrated Anya’s birthday. Then we went back to our room and wrote this blog for you!
By Ciro, Joshua and Thibault.
Year 7 - Yangshou
I don’t think there is a negative way to describe this day. Project Week hasn’t finished yet and I’m already calling it the best day! As normal, we had breakfast in the morning. Right after breakfast we got onto the bus, on our way to the school which we helped out. Yesterday we also went there for community service; we built a basketball hoop. Today, we taught them some numbers in English, painted the playground and played games with them.
The best part of the day was CAVING! We walked through an adventurous cave made out of water. We started in a boat; it went 2 minutes ahead. After that we walked and walked and walked through the cave until….
WE WERE IN A MUD BATH!!! It had a slide at the back!!! I got really muddy!
Later when we came out of the cave we cleaned ourselves in a swimming pool.
By Ali, Year 7A
Year 8 - Xiamen
DAY 3: Mangroves!!! Today groups 1 and 2 went mangrove tree planting on Crocodile Island. The land on Crocodile Island is so muddy on the shore and then polluted with rubbish in the centre. To help that situation, we first went to collect rubbish and had to pick out the most interesting piece of rubbish and create a story about. Emma and Queenray won with a story with aliens, romance, and weirdness!!!! Their story was very cool and creative and they used a heart pillow, a flip flop, some sort of gun, and a pearl bracelet. After that we went to the shore and planted the mangroves. Planting the mangroves was in our opinion the best part of the trip so far. The shore was all muddy and we got mud up to our shorts! Mud is awesome! Finally after we went to eat dinner back at the hotel and went to the hot springs! The hot springs were so fun and we all played around in the water, but again we are tired from this amazing day and can’t wait for tomorrow where we will go to the high ropes and the via Ferrata!
By Alessandra, Bianca, Chiara and Elodie
Year 9 - Sanya
Today was the second day of activities and we went to The Bright Connection. This was our service day of the trip. The Bright Connection is a centre for children with autism and cerebral palsy.
During the physical therapy it was really hard for some of us to watch as it looked like the children were in pain, but we soon realised that this was helping them and it would help them learn how to walk or crawl.
When we arrived we met the children when they were on their morning walk up and down the hill on which the centre is located. Then when they came in we all went to our separate jobs; some of us helping in the kitchen, mopping the floor, helping with physical therapy, teaching English or even just playing with them. After two hours, we fed them then put them to bed for a midday nap giving us two hours to relax and eat lunch before they woke up in the afternoon.
In the afternoon, we started off with physical therapy and general exercises for the children and some of us collected the laundry and cleaned the kitchen. After about an hour, we helped them walk up and down the hill outside. After this, it was time to leave but before we did we sang a Chinese song and danced for them.
Some things that we did that we didn’t think we would be able do today were:
“understanding their way of expressing emotions”
“Being able to communicate with them”
“be involved with more than child”
“being patient with them”
We also discussed what we did today that made us proud:
“making them laugh and smile”
“treating them the same way as anyone else”
“knowing that we made an impact in someone’s life”
“helped them feel happier”
“taught them something”
“A memory we will always have are their smiles and laughter”
“Seeing the joy on their faces when they accomplished something”
“How the actions of everyone changed and developed throughout the day and became more comfortable around the children”
We learned to take nothing for granted today.
Students also wrote a poem after their day:
Your name is Xiao Ka
You live in your own little world
15 years old
A fascinating girl
You communicate in ways I can’t quite understand
There is a definite language to the way you use your hands
The time I spent with you, will be with me forever
I’ll never forget you, it was truly a pleasure
Many of us take for granted our ability to communicate
To feed ourselves or walk and run or simply stand up straight
You and your wonderful friends at the Bright Connections
Have reminded us of the human dignity to be found in every situation
We are better for meeting you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts
For the incredible experience in which we all played a part
Year 10 - Guizhou
Today we have the privilege of visiting 纳窝学校 (Na Wo Xue Xiao) in Xinzhai village in Zhenfeng county, Guizhou.
Our work consisted of make renovations to the building, creating murals, and building a sink for the students to wash their hands. While this can be a small task, it made a huge difference. The sink, in particular, would help the students improve their health and hygiene.
The school has 542 students from the age of roughly 6 to 14 years. There are 58 minority groups in China and the majority of these students are either from the 布依族 (Buyi Zu) and 苗族 (Miao Zu) groups. This school has been around for approximately 60 years and has been renovated a few times. The students come from around the nearby villages about 5km away at most. However, some live too far away, so have to live in the school during school days. There are 27 boarding students who only get to go home during the weekends to see their family.
Today has been such an eye opener for me as I was able to help the kids and make a real difference for them. Comparing these kids with us, their lives have so many more difficulties and hard work than our lives. They do not get food whenever they want to, they do not get the freedom that we have, and they do not get the opportunities that we have. Many other families in this local area survive on less than 1000 yuan per year. In order to send their children to school, they have to pay half the school fees and the government pays the other half.
I think that we should not take for granted what we have and we should appreciate the things we get. This is what a few of my peers have to say about our experience:
“Working with these kids sometimes makes you feel that we are ungrateful for the things we receive such as going to a good school and living in a good environment.” (Naser)
“Meeting the kids and spending time with them has been a great start to project week. The best part about today was going into their lessons and singing along with them before their teachers made us leave” (Guilia)
By Gerald Gan, 10C
Year 11 – Zhangjiajie
Today was the second day of our service project, and what a fantastic day it has been for our wonderful students, who have truly made us proud to be their teachers.
The day began with an early wake-up call of 6.30 to enable us to get on the road to Luo Ta Ping Primary School by 8am. Another bumpy two and a half hour coach ride - but on the plus side, another opportunity to admire the spectacular scenery on the way.
As soon as we arrived, the students organised themselves into teams, led by Gauthier, Jasmine, Teo, Jule, Bryan and Fernanda. The leaders stepped up to the challenge as they quickly and efficiently decided on who was going to do each job, with two teams working on mixing and laying cement, two on clearing the area of debris, leaves and rocks, and two on laying the pipe. After the 40 minute walk to the work site, the students got stuck in…
…and what an amazing job they did! The teachers were lost in admiration as they tirelessly and cheerfully worked together to solve problems and ensured that everyone’s strengths were utilised appropriately. From 10.30 until 4pm with only a half-hour break, they displayed fantastic teamwork skills to successfully lay the water pipe for the primary school. What I personally found astounding was the way that, after such a long and hard day working, there was not a single complaint about the 40 minute walk back to the school from the work site. (Apart from the complaints made by the teachers about Arseniy, Bryan and Rachit’s singing!)
When we returned to the school, the students were delighted to be able to give their gifts to the primary school children and to play games with them including basketball and chasing games. It was lovely to watch our students interacting with the children. There was joy on everyone’s faces- until it was time to leave. Too soon, we waved goodbye to the students of Luo Ta Ping school, leaving with beautiful drawings they had made us to say thank you for our hard work.
On the way home on the bus, the students reflected on their day. Many students spoke of the sense of achievement they got from having worked together to accomplish their goal. They talked about how much fun they had had with the children and how they wished they could have spent more time with them. They were all buzzing with the wonderful feeling of having made a difference.
This was a truly special day and a fitting end to the service section of our week.
Year 12 – Twin Moon Bay, HuiZhou
Year 12 had a fantastic start to their CAS-focused Project Week with some creative and active team-building games alongside finalising the plans for the creation of a new music department for a local school. They also had a chance to pop into the school and meet its students who were extremely excited to be practising their English with our equally enthusiastic NAIS Pudong students. The funds we have raised so far have been used to purchase guitars, flutes, drums and keyboards which the students will be using to conduct an afternoon of musical entertainment on Thursday! These instruments should nicely compliment those that have already been kindly and generously donated by the NAIS community: Ukuleles, tabalas, maracas, recorders and tambourines.
Year 6 - http://naisy6shaolin15.tumblr.com/
Year 7 - http://naisy7yangshou15.tumblr.com/
Year 8 – http://naisy8xiamen15.tumblr.com/
Year 9 – http://naisy9sanya15.tumblr.com/
Year 10 – http://naisy10guizhou15.tumblr.com/
Year 11 – http://naisy11zjj15.tumblr.com/
Year 12 – http://naisy12tmb15.tumblr.com/