Anyone can fly to China and climb the Great Wall. Only a lucky few can journey to a remote village and walk hand-in-hand with the precious children who live there. Only a few can laugh and delight in doing the hokey pokey in a tiny village at the base of a mountain surrounded by happy young faces.
This journey opened my heart and my mind. The world IS a global village. There are things that my children and I can do to make the world a better place. Life isn’t just about work, soccer, basketball, the gym, or the newest restaurants in town. Life is about human connections…giving to the greater good.
My children and I will be putting together a special care package for the 120 children who attend Changiao Village School. We will share my pictures of the adults and children in the village, books for their library, and other supplies for their education. I want my children to share, and to understand the importance of reaching out. We will also write letters to my new friend from the Experimental High School, Roger. I am more passionate than ever about the power of ePals. Our children must learn to connect. They must learn to understand other lands, and share with other cultures. They need our help to open their young hearts and minds.
My family will begin regularly giving back in our own community. I plan to contact a local food kitchen, and offer our services in serving meals to those less fortunate. I don’t want the power of my experience to end with the culmination of my trip.
People-to-People did an incredible job of creating a memorable trip to China for the members of my delegation. We started in Beijing where we saw the Great Wall and the Olympic Village. Then we traveled deep into the country, visiting Guiyang and its schools. Just when I thought I’d experienced “real China,” we journeyed to the village of Changiao and laughed with children from the simplest of homes. To culminate, we ventured to a place that time forgot – Tunpu Fortress – where we saw families who had preserved their way of life since the 16th century.
I feel very blessed….for my children…for the privilege with which I work, live, and play…and for the many memories from my journey to understand a world so far away and yet so close.