We began the day with a visit to the mountains to complete a service learning experience at the Children’s Village. The village houses children of all ages whose parents are in prison and not able to take care of them. The children live in dormitories and are assigned in groups of 16 to a “mother”. Our first stop was a tour of the facilities, followed by a video outlining the history and purpose of the organization. During this presentation, the children had a stand in the back where they sold beaded artwork that they made to fundraise for the organization. I purchased an intricate beaded lantern, which to my excitement, I found to have a small slip of paper with the child who made its name inside. As someone who feels very strongly about social justice issues and the importance of stable and quality childhood development, this lantern has been one of my favorite purchases of this trip. Following the video, some of the children performed some (very) cute talents of theirs before the crowd. The Pitt students then moved to the basketball courts to spend time with the children directly. The boys played basketball with the male students, but a mishap left the girls without any female students to interact with. We were working along with a group of Chinese college students (pictured) studying child education, so we made conversation and discussed our lives in China and America respectively. After a little while, we were joined by a couple of girls who we played jump rope and something similar to hacky-sack with.
After the visit, we took the bus to the Greater Wide Goose Pagoda. We weren’t able to enter the pagoda itself, but saw the decorated inside of many of the surrounding buildings. We even got to rub a Buddah’s stomach three times, which is rumoured to bring us good luck.
After we returned to the hotel, a group of us went to explore the Muslim streets. We ate freshly baked bread, hot pot, and rolled frozen yogurt (all for under $5!). A tasty end to a busy day!