Archives For Chinese students

Where It All Started

August 30, 2019 — Leave a comment

For those of you that have followed Global Partners in Life and the work we are doing in Asia, you know that the first group of orphans we supported were from a rural area in China. There was a horrible fire in an illegal fireworks factory in this rural area called Junan, and 20 students became orphans that day. 

Through the support of our generous donors, Global Partners in Life had been supporting these orphans before I had an opportunity to meet them in person. Would you like to meet them also?

As I said, this was a rural area and you can see the roads were not paved. We visited the orphans at their school, and even the school’s band showed up to welcome us. I felt very sorry for the students in the band, because it was 105 degrees that day and they had to wear their band uniforms.

The orphans we were supporting were allowed to come to school that day without wearing their school uniforms. We had a formal ceremony, and those particular orphans were given some gifts and sat in the front row.

As you can see in the photo above, the students in China wear uniforms to school. I have more photos of the orphans, and as you can tell, they were different ages. Global Partners in Life made a commitment to them that, regardless of their age, we would pay for their school fees, school supplies, uniforms, books, and lunches until they graduated from high school. I am thankful to report that 19 of the 20 did actually graduate from high school. One boy ran away one month before he graduated, and we have no idea what happened to him after that.

I am so thankful the donors of Global Partners in Life enabled us to meet the needs of these 20 orphans. Through their contributions, we were able to change the trajectory of these children’s lives by helping them receive an education.

We would love for you to partner with Global Partners in Life also!

Bathhouse

August 15, 2019 — Leave a comment

When I was teaching at a university in China, most of the dorms were located in the northwest section of the campus. The dorms were heavily populated, and to be honest with you, poorly illuminated in my opinion. At the end of each hall there were bathrooms with several sinks, mirrors, and toilets. There was one very important thing missing — would you like to know what it was?

The dormitories didn’t have any showers! To shower, the students would have to leave their dormitory and go to the nearby bathhouse. Check out the bathhouse in the photograph below!

Obviously this building has more than one floor, and that is good for separating the males and females. I believe the boys are on the first floor and the girls were on the second floor. Another interesting thing about the housing involves the teachers. If you were a single teacher, you were given a room in the dormitory. On the other hand, if the teacher was married, they were given an apartment. For the single teachers in the dormitory, they didn’t like going to the bathhouse with their students.

Many of the students had plastic basin that they would take to the bathroom to fill with water and then bring to their dorm room and wash up a little before they went to bed. By the way, the photo below is from one of the student’s room that had 13 people living in it! Did I mention earlier the dorms were heavily populated? This particular room was on the end of the building and larger than the other rooms. 

While teaching at this university, I was always impressed by how clean the students were and their clothes. You guessed it: they didn’t have a place to wash their clothes on their hall either!

Movie Night

October 25, 2016 — Leave a comment

A fellow teacher at the university where I taught in China suggested to me that I show a movie to my class sometime. Hearing and seeing a movie in a foreign language they were studying would help them with some of the slang terms we use, and help them with the speed of our conversations. I liked the idea, and I took it a step further.

I told a sophomore class of English majors that we would have a movie night. I reserved one of the auditoriums on campus, and I told them that we would make it a cultural event as well, so everyone was allowed to bring one friend and all the snacks they wanted. The only rule we had was that they had to clean up after themselves.

The class I invited had 50 students, and if all of them brought a friend, the 150 seat auditorium would have ample space for everyone. Well, I was in for a big surprise, because when I arrived about 30 minutes before the assigned time to setup the movie with the projector, the room was absolutely packed!

A funny thing I noticed immediately was there was a thin man sitting beside the area where the computer was, so I could start the movie and adjust the volume in the speakers, and he must have been at least 80 years old! Apparently the word had gotten out that there was going to be a free movie shown, so it was packed. That actually made me very happy!

Movie Night in China

This is a photograph of the auditorium where I showed the movie. These are some of my students, but this wasn’t the night when I showed the movie. Maybe I should have made a second rule addressing the number of guests they could invite!

 

Help is on the Way

September 22, 2016 — Leave a comment

After the group of foreign teachers, the former Director of the Foreign Language Department at the university where I taught in China, and I started financially supporting the orphans from the fire in a fireworks factory, I returned to the States. One of the first and most important things I did once I returned was starting Global Partners in Life. Believe me, there are a few hoops to jump through to receive your Letter of Determination from the IRS!

While teaching at the university, one of the things I enjoyed most were the English Corners, where the English speaking students would gather to practice their English. From those causal conversations, I made many wonderful friends. One of the English teachers who was helping support the orphans had a wonderful idea, and I am delighted to say that some of the students from the English Corner stepped up and assisted the orphans we supported in an interesting way.

Help Is On The Way

In the photograph above, you see some of the college students who agreed to become mentors for the orphans we were supporting. The students were assigned to an orphan, and they became something like a big brother or big sister to the child. They would communicate with them, check on their homework and grades, and even try to teach the orphans some English. They would also follow up with the student’s teachers to see if there were any areas where they could help tutor the orphan. What a wonderful idea!

It absolutely thrilled me and warmed my heart to learn that the students from the English Corner were willing to help the orphans Global Partners in Life was supporting! We can all contribute in many ways to help others less fortunate than ourselves. So, would you like to help Global Partners in Life?

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?

Ping Pong

June 7, 2016 — Leave a comment

Most Americans can’t begin to understand how popular ping pong is in China. On China television there is an equivalent to our ESPN, which is called CCTV5. This was by far my favorite Chinese television station, because I love sports, and I don’t speak much Chinese. I can watch a sporting event on CCTV5 and not need to understand what the announcer is saying. A higher percentage of their programming than I expected was dedicated to ping pong. Did you know that China and Malaysia are big rivals in ping pong?

When I was teaching at a university in China, I was surprised to see ping pong tables outside. I didn’t understand how the game could be played outside because the wind would have such a negative impact on the game, but I was surprised to see how many played on the outdoors tables.

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The ping pong tables above would be considered good ones, because they have an actual net. There is another option that may not meet specifications, but endures the weather well. Check out the pictures below and you can see how resourceful the students can be!

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That’s right, bricks can be used as a net for a ping pong table!   I never would have thought of that if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. Oh, and it wasn’t just this one table, there were several of them on campus!

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So, like I was saying earlier, I don’t think we Americans understand the depth of the passion for ping pong in China. I have seen ping pong tables in offices buildings in the open area by the elevators or in large hallways also! Long live ping pong!

In my previous blog about some of my friends in China, I told you about Don. Well, Walt has a similar story, as I met him during my first trip in 2002.

Walt would be at the basketball games we played, and at the English Corners. During the English corners, he was quick to offer his translating skills, not only for the Americans, but also for the Chinese. This was impressive, because Walt’s major was Physics! Two of his best friends were English majors, and they could all speak English very well, which was very helpful for those of us that didn’t speak one work of Chinese.

Walt impressed me right away with his intelligence and initiative. The Physics department was about two blocks from the main campus, but Walt took it upon himself to start English Corners on the Physics campus, and arrange for guest speakers to come and speak to the students in English. To enhance his vocabulary, one summer break he memorized 150 English words a day!

Additionally, Walt had a great sense of humor, and he was very comfortable laughing at himself. That was very interesting to me, because in the Chinese culture saving face is very important. I am sure Walt had a traditional upbringing, because his father was in the army before he worked for the telecommunications company.

Perhaps his father involvement with technology is where Walt gained his interests and skills. Walt received scholarships and went to grad school in Shanghai. Did I mention that I think he is a genius! Initially he was studying black holes, but he decided everyone knew and understood black holes, so then he started studying what is physiologically happening when you see the squiggly lines coming up from a hot paved surface. Walt received his PhD. degree, and now he is doing post doctorate studies outside of China. Now he is called an Astro Physicists, and he is extremely passionate about studying outer space.

Walt is a teacher now, and he was a teacher for me. I learned so much language, culture, and history from him!

Recently, I got to see Walt in Shanghai! He took a group of my friends and me on a tour of some of the scientific universities of Shanghai, and to see the Bund area. I had been to the Bund before, but never at night or on a boat on the HuangPu River. This truly was an amazing tour for those of us from the States.

walt

Walt is married and has a family. This summer he and his family will hopefully be able to come for a visit! I think China’s future is very bright, thanks to wonderful people like Walt!

I wanted to write a blog or two about a couple of my first friends in China. I am thankful to say that we are staying in touch even after 16 years!

The first gentleman I want to tell you about is named Don, and I met him on my first trip to China in 2002. We met on the campus where my group was speaking to the English majors and playing basketball. One of the first things I noticed about Don was his amazing English skills. Ironically, he was a Chinese major.

Don was kind of shy when we would have groups of students to speak with, but he was at all of the basketball games, and at the English Corner on campus. An English Corner is where people would gather to practice their English.

We exchanged email addresses, and I am thankful to say we’ve stayed in touch. When I returned to teach in 2003, it was wonderful to have a friend there. He was graduating that year, so I am glad we were able to hang out as often as we did. He was part of a gang of guys I always played basketball with Thursday and Saturday afternoons.

don

Don is one of the few people I know that I can honestly say I think they are brilliant! He has an amazing ability to read something and not only retain it, but also understand it. Having said that, it didn’t surprise me at all when he was given a scholarship to go to graduate school in Chengdu, which is in the Sichuan Province where the panda bears live. Later he would do graduate level study in Hong Kong and the States. Don is also a very patient person, as he tried to teach me to say a few words in Chinese, which didn’t work well for a guy that is too old to teach something new and had a southern drawl. He also taught me about the culture and history of China.

Not only does Don have a great mind, but he also has a huge heart! His parents are farmers, so they would not be considered rich. Don has a younger brother, and Don has always tried to encourage his brother and help him where he could. Don’s generosity was abundantly clear when he gave his little brother his only radio! I was truly impressed with Don’s character and concern for his family!

Speaking of Don’s family, he is now a married man, and he and his wife recently had a baby! My nickname for Don is Daddy Don. He is a wonderful man, and I am thankful he is my friend and I got to share about him with you!

My First Few Visits

September 24, 2015 — Leave a comment

As with any new environment, I had to learn through experiencing my new surroundings when I started visiting the special needs orphanage. Initially, it was hard to notice much more than all of the children requesting my attention, but once I got used to that and the children got used to me, I observed more and more within the orphanage.  

One of the first things I noticed was how the staff was always busy doing something.  It could be anything from changing a diaper, giving medicine, reading to a child, or feeding them, but there was always something to do.  Keep in mind that at one time there were 33 children living in this three bedroom apartment, which was actually a two bedroom apartment because one of the bedrooms was used as an office and storage area.  In a way, I felt sorry for the staff, because they never could get ahead of all of the needs of the children or laundry to fold, but they seemed to love the children and enjoyed helping them.

While walking around with a child or two in my arms, I would go to the large back bedroom and notice how many cribs were there.  Due to the number of children sleeping there, it was almost wall to wall cribs, as you can see in the pictures below.

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MyFirstFewVisits1

As you can see, some of the cribs were made of wood.  The wooden cribs were very heavy, solid, and well made, but I was concerned that the paint was lead based, since they were so old.  Many of the cribs were large enough to hold two or three babies at the same time!

MyFirstFewVisits_blur

In future blogs, I will share with you some of my other observations from the special needs orphanage.  By this time, I was thinking the orphanage was called special needs, because it took so little time for the children to become special to me!  

The Wall

September 17, 2015 — Leave a comment

My last few blogs about the work of Global partners in Life have spoken about the orphans around the city where I taught at a university.  I am very thankful for many teaching opportunities in different cities in China, so now I am sharing with you about another city.

As I was telling some new friends, at a school where I was teaching during one of my many teaching opportunities in China, about the orphans we were helping from the fire in the fireworks factory, they told me that they also helped some orphans in town.  In fact, they said that a group goes every Wednesday morning, and I was invited to join them.  I said certainly, and I had no idea of where my simple answer was leading me.

Some of the first things I noticed when we entered the orphanage were the wave of children rushing toward us when we entered the orphanage with their hands in the air wanting us to pick them up.  Also, I noticed that my friends neglected to tell me that this was a special needs orphanage, but that didn’t seem to slow the children down at all.

As I walked around the orphanage holding a child, I was drawn to many sights, sounds, children, and pictures on the wall.  We were in a large room, and one wall was lined with pictures of the most darling children I had ever seen.  I asked about the story behind the pictures, and I was told that the pictures were of some of the children that had been served by the special needs orphanage.

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I couldn’t imagine how horrible those children lives had been before being rescued by this special needs orphanage.  They had physical challenges, were abandoned, and truly dependent on the love and support of others.  I have been going to this orphanage for at least 9 years, and I still like to look at these pictures, because it makes me so happy that there are people who have opened their homes, wallets, and arms for these children.  Global Partners in Life is focused on orphans in China, and hopefully all of the orphans around the world will receive the assistance they need by all of us who can contribute in so many ways!