It is our pleasure to receive such a positive feedback for our Charity Trip 2014. On behalf of the Project of Hope Committee 2014-2015, we would like to extend our gratitude for every participant who has supported us throughout the trip.
Project of Hope 2014
As the sole participant from Imperial, I joined 24 students from the LSE and 5 more from Warwick last week for the Project of Hope (POH) service trip in Lianzhou, Guangdong organised by LSESUHKPASS. POH is aimed at helping, in particular through teaching, students in rural villages in mainland China, and is partly funded by a self-organised charity variety show called Hope of the Night (HON) held annually in December in London.
This is a comprehensive service trip indeed. Apart from teaching, we made home visits (and cooked for the family), organised a carnival for the students, helped in harvesting and painted the walls of a classroom. Through different forms of services, we gained hands-on experiences of how life in typical undeveloped rural areas is and reflected on related social problems. POH is really meaningful and inspirational, and I strongly encourage you all to participate in the coming HON and to consider joining next year’s POH.
We went to Youtian Primary School in Dalubian Town for the main part of our service. For the purpose of the two-day teaching the 30 of us were divided into 7 groups to teach the 7 classes of students. I was assigned to teach a class of Primary 1 students with 4 other participants, mainly on the English alphabet. P1 students were so energetic and active that the class sometimes went out of our control as the students can madly and loudly shout out. But the students are already more self-disciplined than we had expected. Girls were mostly participative in class and were eager to learn, while the boys were naughtier in general. Nevertheless, the teaching went well and we had lots of fun with our class of kids during the games in class, which I am grateful for.
The behaviour of students significantly changes as the grade goes up. Students in higher grades, say Primary 5, are quieter but far more mature. A P5 student wrote a thanks-giving letter to her “teacher” on our last day in school. Everyone who read the letter including myself was deeply touched by the emotions expressed and evoked, and was impressed by the maturity of the student. This was the most touching moment to me throughout the trip, although I was neither directly involved in the class nor the student; the letter alone had already made many emotional. Apart from writing letters, students across all grades (probably excluding P1 as the kids were too young) prepared presents for their “teachers” in order to express them their gratitude.
Lunchtime in the school is about 3 hours long, so both the kids and we had plenty of time to kill after lunch. Quite a number of us played with the kids in the playground under the sun, and I was (perhaps because I am tall enough) one of the targets of the young children to climb on and to be carried. The kids sought to jump onto me and wouldn’t care about scratching my back when jumping. As a result of their sharp fingernails I was even scratched to bleeding (poor me, that was on my birthday…), but I didn’t mind because I had been bringing them joy and fun.
After teaching extensively for two days we switched to other means of services on Day 4. That day was the most exhausting for us, as we organised a carnival for the school, visited a student’s home, and did some optional harvesting. The carnival went smoothly under the sun. We cooked for the family of a P5 student during the home visit using the food we bought in Lianzhou City in advance, and had a nice chat with the student’s family. It was a unique experience to cook using wood and bamboo instead of using town gas and electricity, and I am sure that you would never try this in Hong Kong or in London or in any other developed place. Hadn’t we been assisted by the family with natural fuels, we would not be able to cook for the lunch – or at least not that efficiently.
7 of us followed a local farmer into the fields in the bright afternoon for grain-harvesting which was another unique experience. We all sweated a lot indeed, but otherwise we wouldn’t be able to understand how difficult the life of farmers is and why should we treasure each piece of rice, as depicted in an old Chinese saying.
Our task on the last day in the school was mainly wall-painting. Under the efficient leadership by our “artists”, within 6 hours we successfully painted the walls of a classroom with the main theme of “ocean”. Other than wall-painting we also took photos with the students and farewelled them, and these triggered our emotions again. I used to teach the class of students whose classroom was painted, so hopefully my students will be able to recall our teaching through seeing the nicely-painted walls every day.
We stopped in Dongguan for a day of leisure before heading back to Hong Kong yesterday.
I am deeply impressed by the overall quality and rundown of the POH trip this year. Thanks to the organisers, and if you manage to read until here I would like to appeal again for your generous support towards the coming HON and POH. Details will be provided later, so stay tuned and thank you!