Today we went to a Children’s Village in the rural outskirts of Xi’an. Children in this village are not orphans but rather their parent(s) are in jail. This non-governmental charity organization was founded to foster them until they get reunited with their families. Kids from ages are from 4 to 18 live and attend school in the village. The village is set up so children live in dormitories in groups of 16 with a house mother who cares and cooks for them.
While at the village, were able to tour the campus and see where the children attend school and eat their meals. It was humbling to see what school looks like for most children around the world who do not have the same privileges that I grew up with. It made me very sad at some points to think about the hardships these children have and will endure for years to come, but this village is definitely a beacon of hope. I loved the friendly and happy environment they worked to maintain; it was obvious that the Children were well loved and cared for.
Next, we watched a presentation about the village (in Chinese) in their auditorium. In the back, beaded crafts that the children had made were being sold. They were very impressive and I don’t think I could have replicated half of the crafts myself!
After the presentation we walked to their play area where the boys played basketball. There was a group of female Chinese university students studying child education that we had the opportunity to discuss our different college experiences with.
After the children’s village we took a bus to the Greater Wide Goose Pagoda. Having studied Buddhism at Pitt, it was interesting to learn about the Chinese interpretation of the religion as well as observe the various symbols and mudras used in Chinese buddhist statues and artwork. I also enjoyed seeing the artwork created by the monks living at the temple. Again it was made clear the importance of symbology in Chinese culture as most of the paintings represented qualities like strength or harmony.