Archives For People

If you read the book, Unseen Tears, published by Global Partners in Life, you may remember the leader of the special needs orphanage speaking about how she would like to have some work done on the bathroom for the children. Believe me, the work needed to be done. The most basic of needs for a bathroom were not operating correctly, so Global Partners in Life raised the support to remodel the bathroom.

One of the first things we noticed was the condition of the sinks. The original bathroom had three sinks, but only one worked. The main problem with two of the old sinks was their plumbing. Somehow the pipes had an upward angle, so they wouldn’t drain at all. This was a big problem since all of the children in the special needs orphanage use this bathroom. They had quite a line when everyone was told to wash their hands or to brush their teeth.

Once the project started, we literally had the bathroom stripped down to the bare walls, which gave the craftsmen access to the plumbing, electricity, and structure they needed. It was an amazing project to witness with the before and after results!

As you can see in this picture, the two unusable sinks were just used to hold things. Also, you can see the elevation in the plumbing, which caused the sinks not to drain correctly.image002

As I mentioned, the bathroom was completely gutted, and you can see that from the picture below. Also, you can see the newly installed plumbing for the sinks!image004

To complete the timeline, here is a picture of the new sinks. There are now three operational sinks, and one of them is large enough to bathe a baby. I am very thankful for the contributions which enabled Global Partners in Life to have such a positive impact on the daily lives of so many wonderful children!image006

 

Can you imagine how much storage would be needed while having up to thirty three special needs children living in a three bedroom apartment?  Yes, you are starting to see how that could be a challenge!  

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I must give credit to my friend that leads the special needs orphanage Global Partners in Life supports. The odds may be stacked against her, but she utilizes the space she has very well.  What a new person may see as clutter is actually organized to my friend.  It amazes me how she can go directly to whatever she is looking for and find it immediately in all of the stacks of “things” she has.

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 The cabinets in the children’s room are so full a cord has to be used to tie the handles together so the contents don’t spill out.  Ok, this may also keep inquisitive children out of the cabinets as well.

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Before our help organizing the balcony storage.

There is also a glassed in balcony that is used for storage.  This is a great use of space. It is extremely cold there in the winter, so it may be uncomfortable to use the space for anything else.

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After, with the new shelves!

As you can see, some items were tied together in the closet, and some were stacked in whatever manner that would allow them to fit into the closet.  A friend of mine was on the trip with me and he saw this.  He is in the construction industry, so he took it upon himself to purchase the exact shelves that the leader wanted, and we emptied out the closet, assembled the new shelves, and restacked everything into the closet again! Trust me, that was a full day’s work!  We were happy with how much difference our effort made, however it did get a little crazy trying to take everything out of the closet with all of the children wanting to play!

Huangpu River Cruises

August 18, 2015 — 1 Comment

A very popular sightseeing event in Shanghai is to take a river cruise around the Bund at night.  I did this in the month of May, so the weather was perfect!  Many things come into play before boarding the river boat, thankfully, I had people helping me.  There are multiple boats, so you need to know which one you want to use.  Some are old and some are old.  It is crowded at the docks, so getting thickets early is very important!  We actually had a friend go to the docks ahead of us to buy our tickets.  Once we arrived at the river, we were given our tickets.

The next step was to line up and in the boarding area.  My friend told us where to go, but I believe our tickets indicated in which line we should be.  There was quite a crowd in the holding area, and we had to wait several minutes before we were allowed to board the boat, but it was well worth the wait!

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As we approached our boat, I was pleased with what I saw.  Our boat was new, large, clean, and ready to go!

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From the street where we entered the ticket area, I had no idea we were so close to the beautiful sight above.  The river was right there, and we could easily see the lights of the Bund reflecting on the river!  This truly was impressive and exceeded my expectations!

All across China each day there are an untold number of morning markets in each small neighborhood.  The vendors come into a common area, set up their booths, and sell their goods.  These markets give people an opportunity to get fresh vegetables, fruit, and meat each day.  The people are quite friendly, and you never know what you might see.

My words could never do justice to the morning markets, so I decided to show you a video of one.  Enjoy the experience, and welcome to China!

First Donation Trip

August 6, 2015 — Leave a comment

While I was teaching at a university in China, I saw needs the students had that were not met. Global Partners in Life (GPiL) wants to help the youth of China with their educational, humanitarian, and medical needs. So, that is what we attempted to address with our first visit to China making donations. Also, the university had treated me wonderfully, so I wanted to try to honor them with some contributions.

If you read my first book, Lessons From China, you will remember reading about the classrooms, dorms, and cafeterias not being heated. One classroom I had faced north, and I could see the breeze moving the curtains around the window. Within this classroom, I not only saw my breath in the cold, but I also saw my student’s hands turning red, purple, and blue from the cold. So, GPiL donated 2,000 gloves to the university for students that needed them. The gloves are in the big boxes below.

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Also, GPiL donated English/Chinese dictionaries for students that couldn’t afford one. We got a few of the dictionaries out of the cases for some photographs.

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The designated area for the English Corner, where people met to practice English, on campus was very near the campus infirmary, and the leader of the infirmary was a very nice lady that spoke English. When she had an opportunity, she would visit the English Corner, so I got to know her. During this trip, GPiL donated some medical supplies, which she had indicated she could use. The director of the infirmary is the lady in this photo. Her husband is standing to my left. He was a vice president of the university, and my boss’ boss. My boss is the man on the far left in this photo below; you will hear more about him later. By the way, the vice president pictured below soon became the president of the university, so I was happy for him!

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The university invited some of the freshmen that would receive the dictionaries to this ceremony. I am not sure if they received the gloves, and I hope they didn’t need any of the medical supplies GPiL provided for their campus! The students looked way too young to be in college to me, but they were, so maybe I am just getting older! They are pictured below, so let me know if they look too young to be in college to you!

To Be Continued…….

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Downtown Shanghai

August 4, 2015 — 1 Comment

From what I am told, this is downtown Shanghai. I was recently at a friend’s office. This was the view from his office. Actually, he had a small balcony we could go out on for some fresh air and better pictures.

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Here is the view in another direction. I think we were about 16 floors high while taking these pictures.

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You may have noticed in the lower section of the first picture there was a large church. I don’t know the name of the church, but I will share with you another picture of it. As you can tell, it was quite a large church! I must add that it was a beautiful building and wonderfully maintained. This is probably the largest church I have seen in China.

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It was enjoyable visiting the downtown area of Shanghai. I don’t think I had spent much time there during my other trips; it was much better having a local showing us around. We even had pizza delivered, so that made it even more enjoyable!

Last week I began to tell you about the ceremony that became so much more than we expected. This is the rest of the story.

After our amazing greeting, we were ushered into a building where we met with some local government officials and school administrators.  A TV station actually took some footage of our meeting, so that made us feel a little awkward.

Following the official greeting, we were lead outside into a blistering hot day!  Man, I don’t know how the poor students in their band uniforms stood it!  A large outdoor area near the school’s basketball courts had been set up for us.  Those of us that had donated money for the orphans were on the stage with a few other people.  The students were in front of us, and that day they didn’t make the orphans wear their school uniforms, and they sat in the front row near the stage.  They were holding a bag of gifts we had purchased for each of them, and they acted like they weren’t sure if they should look inside or not.

Lizzy from my book and the Assistant Dean of the Foreign Language Department was asked to give a speech, since she speaks Chinese very well.  Later Holly from my book and the former Dean of the Foreign Language Department, who was also there, told me Lizzy had done very well with her speech.  It was so hot that day; I think everyone was just ready to get out of the sunshine.

Here are some photos of the events that day!

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Global Partners in Life supported each of these orphans from whatever grade they were in when they became an orphan until they graduated from high school.  To my knowledge only one of these students didn’t graduate from high school.  One of the boys dropped out of school one month before he graduated, but I don’t know why.

Gunagqi Park

July 28, 2015 — Leave a comment

There is a lovely park in the middle of downtown Shanghai called Guangqi Park.  Guangqi Xu was a famous scholar, and he was born to a poor farming family in Shanghai in 1562.  His father was somehow able to pay for his son to go to school, and at the age of 19, Guangqi Xu graduated from college!

Guangqi Xu is known for many things, including translating the Euclid’s Elements from Latin into Chinese.  He actually translated many books going from Chinese to Latin and Latin to Chinese.  He worked with the famous Italian, Matteo Ricci.

Guangqi Xu was most respected for his work in agriculture, astronomy, military science, and math.  He was appointed to serve in the courts of the Ming Dynasty, where he wrote a book about military science.  This wasn’t received well by the military men, because Guangqi Xu was an academic person, not a warrior.  He was concerned about protecting China from invaders, and he a philosophy about rich countries and strong armies.  Ironically, Japan used his philosophy, and they invaded China.

Here are a few pictures of the park named for Guangqi Xu.  If you will notice the mound of dirt in the open area in the second picture, that is where Guangqi Xu is buried.

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I can’t imagine how valuable this property is with its great location in downtown Shanghai.  The city’s willingness to keep the park honoring him indicates how well respected he is in China!

Unworthy Welcome

July 23, 2015 — Leave a comment

In my books, Lessons From China and Unseen Tears, I talk about a tragic event.  When I was teaching at a university in China, there was a fire in an unregistered fireworks factory in a rural area slightly over an hour’s drive from the campus.  Unfortunately several people died in the fire, so many children became orphans that day.

Several people affiliated with the university got together and decided we wanted to help the children.  We had heard there was no orphanage in the area to house the children, so distant family members and local villagers took the children into their homes.  The group I was with was comprised of foreign teachers and a local retired former school employee, and we wanted to ensure the children they would have their school fees paid through high school, so we all donated money to assist.  We also purchased hats and coats each year to keep them warm.

Well over a year after we had started giving money to keep the children in school, some of the foreign teachers and I were in town, so the Ladies Auxiliary group that was coordinating everything for the children, including our contributions, wanted to take us to meet the children.

The plan was to have a ceremony at the school in town, but we never knew how big of a deal this would become.  The roads in this town were dirt, and as we drove near the school, we saw people lining the streets.  Below you will see the dirt roads, people lining the streets, and we even had a band playing for us!  It was extremely hot that day, so I felt sorry for the people wearing the band uniforms!

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We were truly shocked at how we were being honored, and we didn’t feel worthy!  It seemed unimaginable to us to receive a rock star’s welcome, when all we had done was donate some money to help some of the students stay in school and stay warm.

To be continued…

If you read my books, Lessons From China and Unseen Tears, you will hear me tell about a truly tragic event.  While I was teaching at a university in China, there was a fire in an illegal fireworks factory in a rural area a little over an hour’s drive from the campus.  Unfortunately, many people died in the factory’s fire, which left many children orphaned.

This area was so rural that there was no orphanage where the children could live, so distant family members and local villagers took the children in.  Some of the teachers and former teachers at the university got together and decided we wanted to help the children, so we decided that we would pay for the school fees for each of the children until they graduated from high school.  There was a broad range of ages for the children, so we knew this would take several years, but we wanted to make sure the children received an education.

After making sure the school fees were paid, one of the first things we did for the children was to buy them coats and toboggans.  We work through a Ladies Auxiliary group from the city where the university was to assist the children.  These ladies knew with whom each child lived, their teachers names, their grades, and what clothes size they wore, so this was a huge help for us.  As you can see in the picture below, on this day we were able to give the children some new warm coats and hats.  It was so cold this day, one child refused to put their new coat on, because they had already warmed up their old coat!

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The horrific fire took place several years ago, and Global Partners in Life has continued supporting orphans in the area!