Archives For fire

Since the weather is so warm here, I thought I would share with you a story about how Global Partners in Life has tried to protect orphans from the cold. The story starts when I was teaching at a university in China. I learned of a fire in an illegal fireworks factory in a rural area about an hour from the university. Unfortunately, many people were trapped inside the burning building, and several children became orphans that day.

The village was in such a rural area that there was no orphanage to receive the children that had tragically just become orphans. To give credit to the people of China, local villagers welcomed the children into their homes, as did distant family members. A group of foreign teachers from the university decided we must assist the children, so we pooled our financial resources, and we kept the 20 orphans in school that year.

A Change in Seasons and Life

Since that fatal fire, Global Partners in Life was formed — but we never forgot our young friends. In fact, through your generous contributions, we continued to pay for the school fees, school supplies, coats, hats, gloves, and even gave some financial support to the families providing a home for the orphans. As you can see in the photograph above, they did receive new winter clothes!

Over the years and through your donations to Global Partners in Life, we met many of the educational and humanitarian needs of these children. Learning about these children’s situation was one of the many factors that changed my life from being self-focused into one that feels great joy and happiness in helping my new young friends.

Thank you so much for investing in the work of Global Partners in Life as we try to meet the needs of those than can’t provide for themselves.

Please visit our website at www.globalpartnersinlife.org to learn more!  

 

 

Where It All Started

September 15, 2016 — 1 Comment

When I was teaching at a university in China in 2003, I spent a lot of time teaching in classrooms just like the one pictured below. The room may not have been spectacular, but the students certainly were! One day, one of the female students looked sad, so I asked her if everything was OK. Her answer completely changed my life!

GPiL: Where It All Started

She told me that she was sad, because she had heard that in a rural area about an hour from campus there had been a fire in an illegal (not registered with the government) fireworks factory, and many people died from the fire because they were trapped inside. She continued with her face looking down and sobbing slightly, “Now there are many children without a mother and a father.” Without knowing any of the facts, I tried to comfort her.

Later that day, some of the foreign teachers had a meeting, and we were very fortunate to have the former Director of the Foreign Language Department (a Chinese lady) with us. I started asking questions about the fire, and she confirmed what the student had told me. She knew there were at least 20 children that lost both parents in the fire, so our small group of foreign teachers agreed that we must help those children! This horrific event occurred in a rural area — there wasn’t an orphanage to accept the children, so the children were taken in by distant family members and local villagers.

Our group of foreign teachers, with the help from the former Director of the Foreign Language Department, pledged to pay the school fees for all of the children through high school graduation, regardless of their current grade level.

When I returned to the States after teaching at the university, I started Global Partners in Life! I am happy to report that all but one of the students, which ended up being over 20 children, graduated from high school! One boy, two months from graduating, ran away from home and we never heard anything else about him. We are still proud of the other students who overcame such a horrible event in their lives and remained focused enough to complete their high school education.

We felt thankful to be in a position to assist some truly needy children, and that is what Global Partners in Life continues to do!  Would you like to help us by investing in the work we are doing in China?

Not a Barbecue

April 14, 2015 — Leave a comment

If you think the man in the picture below is grilling, you would be mistaken. This is not a barbecue. He is actually practicing the nearly forgotten skill of blacksmithing. So, when is the last time you saw someone using an anvil, hammer, and fire?

036a_NotBBQ

I found it interesting and wise that his tongues had very long handles. I am sure the metal must be extremely hot during certain phases of his work. It looked like to me the fireplace was handmade, and there is a space for a blower to make the charcoals hotter. The blower can be seen on the left side and it is green.

036b_NotBBQ

Some of the tools the blacksmith was using looked old, and maybe some of the handles were hand made. Perhaps he was teaching the young man his craft, but I was not sure because my language skills aren’t that strong. I do know that the blacksmith was very gracious in letting me take some pictures of him and his work.

036c_NotBBQ

I don’t know what my new friend was making, but I had a feeling he was proud of his work. I don’t know of many people in the world that can do what he does, so he is in an elite classification in my opinion! When you are traveling in China, you never know what you might see!

 

 

 

Hero

May 1, 2014 — Leave a comment

I want to honor a hero who has done so much to help others, even to the point of putting himself at risk. This man is a hero in more ways than one. One of the things that make him a hero is that he is the principal of a migrant school in China. I’ll give you some background on what a huge deal that is.

Hero in China

Because of the changing economy in China, some interesting things have happened: Many people are moving to the large cities in China for employment. Among this exodus of people are many young couples who are leaving farms for the big cities in hopes of bettering themselves financially. Unfortunately, many of these young couples have to leave their child with their parents to raise while they try to earn enough money to support themselves, their child, and their parents. Other couples choose to bring their child with them, but that leads to problems concerning the child’s education.

It wouldn’t be true if I said that I understood everything involved with registering a child for school in China, but I will share with you what I have been told.

To go to school, a child must be registered. So first, the child needs a registration card. Sometimes, it can be very difficult for minorities and orphans to receive the registration, and that can cause them many problems throughout their lives. Also, a child will probably be denied enrollment at a school of the parents’ choice if the child’s registration is already at a different school. This very situation made it difficult for migrant workers’ children to have access to city schools since they had been registered in a different area of the country. Seeing how so many migrant workers’ children were being denied access to an education, the hero I’m writing about decided to do something about it! He started a school for migrant workers’ children, and the school and the students are thriving! That is an impressive accomplishment, but his story doesn’t end there.

As he returned home one day, he saw his home engulfed in flames, and he knew that his wife and child were inside. At great risk to himself, he tried to rescue them, and was burned badly in his attempt.

I have a great amount of respect for this man. I won’t show you his face because he wouldn’t want me to do that, but knowing his stories makes me pause and ask myself, “Would I have the courage to face such incredible challenges as this man has and be a hero?”  As I celebrate Global Partners in Life’s 10th anniversary, I also want to pay tribute to this fine educator and hero.

 

 

Beau

 

How to Get Lessons from China

Lessons from China: A Westerner’s Cultural Education is now available as a paperback and as an e-book on Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook!

You can buy Lessons from China on Amazon.com, Smile.Amazon.com (to donate a portion of the sale to Global Partners in Life), bn.com, and in Barnes and Noble stores and a variety of other bookstores and online booksellers.

Note: If you don’t see the book on the shelf at your local bookstore, just ask the sales clerk to order it for you. The booksellers are eager to accommodate you, whenever possible. Independent bookstores can order the book through Bookmasters.