Today, we visited the Xi’an Children’s Village. It is a special establishment for children whose parents are in jail and don’t have other family members to care for them. Before coming to Xi’an, I had never heard of such a place and I was so surprised that my mind had never really paid attention to what happened to children whose parents are taken away. I was really touched by the fact that someone had thought of this and had built a home for them. It was also great to know that it was fully run off donations and contributions from invested people around the country and around the world.
During a tour of the village, we discovered that the village was only a living area for the children, much like our dorms at college. So, during the day they would go to school in the local public schools, get to mingle with other kids and get a good chance at education. I thought this was great because the children were still able to stay connected with the real world and weren’t isolated in their own world.
During our stay, the kids had a dance presentation for us and when they were done, Dr. Li and Jane had us present something for the kids. They went on stage and presented Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes and a few of us sat in the crowd cheering them on. Some of our students also played charades with some the kids and it was great seeing the language barrier not pose so much of a difficulty.
After the presentations, our girls went into the library to learn some origami with some of the female students. I also loved that it was a great activity that didn’t require either party to understand the other’s language. They could simply make a fold and we could follow along with our own pieces of paper. I made a regular heart, an intricately designed heart, a fortune teller, and a shoe that also doubled as a rabbit.
For lunch, we went to the children’s cafeteria to have noodles. We tried to sit with some of them, but they were either shy or didn’t like us, so they left to sit with their friends. We concluded that since they had to welcome visitors every Saturday, they were probably fed up with having to play nice every week with strangers and having to watch other visiting kids come and leave with their parents.
Overall, I had a great time with the kids and I loved how the language barrier didn’t affect our communication with the origami. They were able to show us each step and we were able to follow along. After we left the kids, we went over to the Greater Wide Goose Pagoda. They were special monuments for monks and buddhas. I got to practice painting some Chinese characters and had my name done! It was awesome. We toured around and then had a dinner at a nearby restaurant. We got to try a special type of chicken that was only sold in Xi’an and it was delicious: crispy, light brown, and juicy!