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Over the years and during my many trips to China (56, but who is counting?), I have seen an increase in the number of Christmas decorations. Initially, only hotels in larger cities with many foreign patrons would be sparsely decorated; but now restaurants, department stores, and especially hotels like to decorate for Christmas.

Would you like to see some of the Christmas decorations I recently saw in China?

Christmas Decorations in China

Christmas Decorations in China

These two photographs above were also taken in a hotel lobby. You can see how exhausted Santa’s Elf looks, so hopefully that means there were many children on the nice list! Also, you can see a street lamp with a snowy windmill scene in it. Did I mention I was in China?

Christmas Decorations in China

I like the color blue in the picture below, so I like the contrasting colors of red, green, and blue in this decoration. This was actually on the ceiling of a hotel lobby. I am not sure what the hot air balloon has to do with our traditional Christmas decorations, but I guess if Rudolph got sick, Santa could use the hot air balloon to deliver the toys to all of the children!

So there you have a quick tour of Christmas decorations in China. Don’t worry, I saw many traditional Christmas trees, snowflakes, and Santa too!

In an era when most children have an extremely long Christmas wish list filled with expensive electronics, it was extremely humbling to hear the leader of the special needs orphanage in China supported by Global Partners in Life say that all she wanted for the children’s Christmas was shoes — warm shoes. It was equally exciting to provide for this need!

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Thanks so much to the donors of Global Partners in Life, who provided the funds for the warm shoes, as well as many other gifts for the children. It was a powerful moment for me to see a child that struggles to walk get excited about trying on their new shoes and walking in them!

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It was amazing that some of the children even wrote and drew thank you notes, which you can see below. In my many years of going to the special needs orphanage and providing gifts, this may have been the first time the children created thank you notes!

A Special Request for Christmas

This request for warm shoes refreshed my memory on how much we have to be thankful for and how much we take for granted. I have often said that these children are my teachers, because they show me how to be happy and content in all situations. They have been abandoned by their parents, have physical disorders, and yet the smallest things make them very happy and content. I truly need to be more like them!

Thanks so much to the people that support my young teachers and the work of Global Partners in Life!

Today I wanted to share with you some scenes from my last trip to China. With China having the oldest culture on the planet, it is interesting how the Chinese hang on to some of their older items. I have been in a nicely renovated train station complete with a modern looking brick exterior, and some of the original touches remaining on the interior. Would you like to see an example?

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The ceiling in this lobby area was extremely high, maybe fifty feet or more. The stained glass windows were absolutely gorgeous, so I can understand why this area was kept intact! The layers of crown molding were quite impressive as well!

As we were boarding our train, I noticed other trains on their designated tracks. One of the trains I noticed had a yellow and red engine pulling the train. As old as they are, these older-style engines are still a fairly common sight on the tracks in China. Just beyond the older engine, you can see the green boxcar. This represents a fairly old train, but from my experience, I can say it is the most commonly used type of train. The newer trains are white and much more aerodynamically designed. Would you like to see a couple of generations of trains in China?

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If you are traveling in China and you have an opportunity to take a train, I would encourage you to travel on the train system. They are very reliable, cost less than flying, and my experiences have been that you will always meet some very welcoming people!

Have you ever taken the train in China?

For many years, I have been afraid that some of the old furniture at the special needs orphanage in China supported by Global Partners in Life had lead-based paint on some of the furnishings. When I would ask about it, I was told they did not — but I still had my suspicions. Take a look below at some of the cribs, and tell me if you would you agree?

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I am very thankful to report that, through the very generous contributions of our supporters, Global Partners in Life has been able to provide new furniture for these needy children. The leader of the special needs orphanage likes the new furniture very much, and she says it is very high quality furniture made in Shanghai. Have a look for yourself and see if you think this is an improvement!

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The wood was strong and sturdy, and these cribs have storage right under the mattress. Believe me, storage at an orphanage is a great thing to have!

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These new high chairs are also constructed of strong wood, and they were designed to serve more than one purpose. With various options for folding the high chairs, they can also become a table or a bench. Options are always wonderful!

We at Global Partners in Life are very thankful for your donations which enable us to provide for the special needs orphans and meet their many needs.

Please consider contributing to our work in China at www.globalpartnersinlife.org!

Perhaps you have heard that the bicycle rental industry is doing amazingly well in China. In fact, in Beijing, the citizens are getting frustrated by some of the bike rental companies that display their bicycles at a narrow location in the sidewalk. This greatly reduces the amount of space for the pedestrians and, yes, even cars. Yes, cars and motorcycles do drive on the sidewalks in China! Oh, and they park on the sidewalks also, so you must always be on the lookout for moving objects of various sizes and speeds headed your way!

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Although the rental bikes are very popular, I have found a potential problem, as you can see in the photograph above. The bicycle rental companies have an app for their clients to download, and this app does many things. It will locate the nearest bike for you, accept your payment, and give you the code to unlock the bike. Well, I am not sure that the app has a contingency plan for when your rental bike has a flat tire. Does anyone know how to resolve this issue as a client using the app?

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China has done a wonderful job of putting signs in travel locations, like the airports, in Chinese and English. During my last trip I noticed a sign that caught my eye. I used a smaller railroad station this time, and it is called the Beijing East Station. Unfortunately, the sign in the photograph above doesn’t quite give all of the information needed if you wanted to use this station’s name again. The word “dong” in Chinese means east, so if you didn’t know that, you wouldn’t know that the name of this train station was Beijing East. That one word may make a huge difference in your next trip or having someone pick you up at the station! Hopefully all of the signs will be completely translated very soon!

Enjoy your traveling!

 

A Girl Named Hope

October 31, 2017 — Leave a comment

Hope is a wonderful word for many reasons, and it is also a fantastic name. My time today will be spent telling about a young lady named Hope. She was legally adopted by the lady who runs the special needs orphanage in China supported by Global Partners in Life. Would you like to know some of her story?

Hope received a scholarship to go to a high school in America, where her English improved tremendously. I visited with her while she was in the States, and she told me she missed the children at the Home of Joy special needs orphanage. It was touching to me that a high-schooler in a foreign country would think about younger children back at her home.

After Hope graduated from high school, she returned to China, where the plan was for to find another scholarship so she would be able to attend college. Unfortunately, after much searching, there wasn’t a scholarship available for Hope. She was living at the Home of Joy helping with the children, when Grace, the lady who leads the special needs orphanage, asked her if she would be willing to become an employee, since they needed another worker to help with the children. Hope asked for 3 days to consider the offer, and I am sure she realized she would be a great candidate since she already knew the children and how to provide for them.

After one day, Hope told Grace she was ready to make a full time commitment to providing care for the children! Grace was happy — she didn’t have to train a new employee, and Hope could help the children with their school work.

One of the first things I saw when I walked into the Home of Joy during my last trip was Hope teaching some of the children vocabulary words! I was thrilled to see this, and I knew it was very beneficial for the children. Also, I was thankful to see the financial contributions Global Partners in Life receives from our fantastic donors was being put to such good use, as Hope was caring for and educating the children. In the photograph below, you will see in picture several aspects of what Global Partners in Life does for the special needs orphans we support. We provide for their care, the workers that meet the children’s needs, and the children’s education!

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Learn more about the orphans and orphanage at GlobalPartnersinLife.org!

For some reason, I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the street market in China. The locals are looking for the freshest foods for their meals that day, so early in the morning they will go to the designated area for the vendors to set up their booths. Most of the people seem very nice, and many of them will allow me to photograph them. Would you like to know what I saw on my last visit?

Fried bread is a common dish in China, especially for breakfast, so it is popular at the morning markets. One nice lady allowed me to record her techniques for frying the bread. I have no idea how she does this without burning herself, but she seems to be quite accomplished at this! Watch for yourself and see if this is something you would do. Not many people will put their hand in a hot frying pan!

Here is another type of fried bread. It is noticeably larger than the ones I just showed you, and it would have a different flavor. Sometimes these fried breads are stuffed with a variety of fillings. What you are about to see in this video is the vendor slicing the fried bread. This fried bread was huge, and what you see represents only half of what was made in one “loaf.” I thought you might enjoy watching the bread being sliced!

Since I showed you the bread being sliced, I thought I would show you a picture of another device used for preparing/slicing food. I have seen many cleavers used in China, but I have never seen one shaped like this one, which was used for cutting meat.

My Latest Trip to a Chinese Street Market

Hopefully you have enjoyed our trip to the street market today! If you have the opportunity to visit one of these in China, I would like to highly recommend you take advantage of it. You never know what you might see!

Have you ever visited a Chinese street market?

 

 

Caution: Wet Paint!

September 29, 2017 — Leave a comment

Having recently returned from a trip to China, there is so much good news to report! At the special needs orphanage supported by Global Partners in Life we were able to see the impact of a special contribution we received. The support we received enabled us to wire money to the orphanage for having the interior walls painted. The lady that leads the orphanage was so excited that she had a painter lined up right away!

To my knowledge these walls haven`t been painted since it was initially built! With as many as 33 children living there at one time, you can imagine how many smudges and hand prints were on the walls. Also, before the walls were painted, if you touched one with your hand, you would have a chalky residue on your hand — but now the walls don`t leave any residue when you touch them.

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Here are some during and after photos. The day I was there it was raining and no lights were turned on, but I could tell as soon as I walked in that the walls were brighter. Since we have remodeled the bathroom and the kitchen, those walls having a fresh coat of paint on them made the rest of the house look that much worse, but at least now they are clean and bright!

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I feel so fortunate to know people that give generously to the work Global Partners in Life is doing in China, and I feel so thankful that together we can provide a better life for the children in so many ways. Yes, we provide for the children’s medical needs, food, care, education, and even a cleaner home to live in!

Want to help provide paint and other needed supplies? Visit Global Partners in Life to learn more!

For this blog post, I thought I would like to share with you some of the unusual sights I saw during my last trip to China. Some of them I can explain, and some of them you will have to decide for yourself what the reason or intent of the object photographed was. Are you ready for a quick trip to China?

A Photographic Journey of Interesting Sights in China

In the photograph above, you will find one of the pictures where I will let you decide about the intent and reason for the construction of this chair. It certainly appears to be durable and suitable for the outdoors!

A Photographic Journey of Interesting Sights in China

Being an old bald guy from Georgia, I had to show this photograph. This is actually a common sight in China, but can you figure out why? I am not sure about all of the details or origin, but the peach is a sign of longevity and the baldness is a sign of wisdom, so this statue in this restaurant was placed there to wish their customers a long life full of wisdom and prosperity.

A Photographic Journey of Interesting Sights in China

One of the ways you can tell when you are in an older district of a city in China is by the wiring and cables you can see. I feel sorry for any technician that is sent out to diagnose an electrical problem in the area!

A Photographic Journey of Interesting Sights in China

Since we serve children in China, I thought I would end with a photograph of a new friend I made at an airport in China. She was all decked out with her summer hat and getting hydrated for her trip!

 

What’s the most unique sight you’ve ever seen in your travels?

Everyone knows you have to maintain your home to retain the value and beauty… not to mention functionality. The same can also be said for your car. To enable your car to serve you at its highest level, you must do maintenance on it from time to time. As Global Partners in Life supports the children at the special needs orphanage in China, can you think of some things we need to maintain?  Yes, maintenance is required for the home and van, but things most of us don’t consider require maintenance also. Do you see anything in this photograph that may need repair?

Even Crutches Need Repairs

Not only did Global Partners in Life help this young lady in the pink get her crutches, but we also help her maintain them. This is a special type of crutch that has a cuff that goes around her forearm, which enables her to have more stability when she walks. She has used these crutches so much that the rubber tip which touches the floor had ripped and was torn. When you have spina bifada with a tethered spine syndrome, you don’t want the exposed metal end of the crutch you depend on to hit a tile floor and slip, causing you to fall!

Through the help of an American who has volunteered at this special needs orphanage, we were able to get replacement parts from the manufacturer. Also, I purchased a different type of tip in case the other parts didn’t work. I am happy to report that the crutches are now fully operational, and this young lady is able to use her crutches again without worrying about having them slip out from under her.

Thanks to all of you that donate to help us meet the needs of these truly dependent children! To learn more about the ways we serve children at the special needs orphanage in China, please visit our website at GlobalPartnersinLife.org.