Let me just start off by saying that today was extremely special, and I feel so incredibly blessed to have been able to witness the amount of beauty, wisdom, intelligence, cuteness (omg!!) that the children from China have. I strongly believe that the strength of a nation is in the upbringing of their children-all of their children might I add, regardless of socioeconomic background. If a nation is able to teach its values to its youngest generation while still allowing them to embrace advancements that technology or new avenues of thought may bring, then I genuinely believe that a nation will prosper. From what I have seen, China does just that. The reason I say that a country must consider all of its children, regardless of socioeconomic background, is that they are truly the future of our country, and everyone should receive the same opportunities regardless of what their background is. We all had the humbling opportunity to visit the Children’s Village in Xi’an (—-include better name), which is a school that provides schooling, housing, and a proper upbringing to children whose parents are currently in jail serving their prison term. Children’s Village, a nonprofit organization, provides a better upbringing for children who are often otherwise overlooked or forced to fend and provide for themselves at an early age instead of going to school, playing, and learning about what all life has to offer. I think this is such a noble initiative and extremely important-why should a child be denied the same opportunities to happiness that their peers may have just because of factors that are outside of their control? They should not be.
Wait, let’s back up though. I’ll take it from the top: We started off our first full day in Xi’an by waking up to a sunny morning. Honestly, I have really enjoyed the weather in Xi’an minus the occasional heat wave because the sky is blue and mighty beautiful. After getting ready and packing my handbag for the day with some essentials (lots of sunscreen) I headed down towards breakfast. To say that I was amazed at the beautiful lit up staircase leading to a banquet fit for royalty is an understatement at the least. Can I just put this out there-10/10 would recommend this hotel if you are ever in Xi’an! From the neat and spacious rooms to the wide assortment of continental, western, and Chinese breakfast, I was extremely impressed. I spent a lot of time walking around trying to see what all there was, and so I got less time to eat than I had anticipated because we had an early call time, but whatever I did eat did not disappoint. I ate a muffin as part of my breakfast, and the taste was so different than the traditional muffins that I eat in the States because they use less sugar in their cakes and it is much creamier without being overly sweet. I love that! I have a huge sweet tooth, so it is needless to say that this breakfast truly satisfied my sweet tooth. Five star hotels do have its benefits…
Next, handbag, cap, and sunscreen in hand I sat on the bus and didn’t realize when I dozed off for a few minutes. With the sunlight hitting just right and the temperature mild, it was perfect sleeping conditions. So I have a habit of always jotting down notes whenever I am in the car or bus just on my thoughts and what is running through my mind, and at that moment, all I could think was I wonder what we are going to do at the Children’s Village. We were given a pretty vague description of our days’ activities, but one thing that I found intriguing was that Jane and Dr. Li were carrying a box around full of sports equipment such as a basketball and a badminton racquet, so I assumed that we were doing some types of sports activities with the children which I got super happy about. I was wearing a blue dress though that day, so I was hoping it wouldn’t be something too extreme. With the amount of suspense mounting, we ventured on our way out of the city and into the more rural area of Xi’an where the Childrens Village was. I know I have said this before, but I think that it is definitely worth a repeat: it is so amazing how fast you can get from completely urban location to a rural area in China. The scenery changes constantly and it is always lively and bustling, so it is definitely interesting to look out the window and observe. Immediately, I could tell that we were approaching the more rural areas when the grassy fields increased and I could see people selling bright red cherries and other fruits along the sides of the road. What was intriguing to me was that everyone was selling the same type of fruit or type of object, and they were all clustered along the same area immediately after one another. From our view, you could just see a long line of farms where they most likely picked the berries from, and then a row of farmers selling the berries all in a line! The business person inside of me immediately yelled out in my head, “diversify your product to brand yourself differently from your competition, don’t all huddle in one area”, but from my years of international experience, I realized that it probably does not make much of a difference what location they sell at since this is a roadside stall. If someone wants to buy, they will buy. Perhaps they are all trying to sell in front of the farms so that people will buy them more. I am used to seeing something similar in India, so I was not as fazed by it as I perhaps would have been otherwise, but it was just interesting how they did not feel like spreading out to get a greater chance of getting a sale, but they probably maybe wanted to know what price the other was selling for.
When we neared the school, we entered an area that was primarily used for primary schools, high schools, colleges, and universities. After asking Dr. Li, I found out that a college was for a specific subject or area of study, such as business, whereas a university would provide courses for a variety of different subjects, such as business and engineering. It was interesting to enter in a gated community just full of suburbs and various schools, and even more interesting to see the difference between campuses in the States and campuses here. I have seen colleges in Asia before and from the few that I have seen, they are not much of a campus. Instead, they are maybe just 2 or 3 buildings at most
At about an hour-hour thirty minute drive, we had arrived to the Childrens Village. As we got off the bus, the sun was shining, and the first thing I noticed was the large number of people. I knew that this was a school and that there would obviously be adults, but I did not realize that there would so many visitors huddled. As we walked on the dirt road leading up to the gates of the school, I felt a burst of excitement-I love spending time with children, and it is my dream one day to help children internationally to reach their full potential. During our time with the children, we walked around, visited their dorms and classrooms, and interacted with them. At first, we listened to their presentations, as well as watched a traditional dance, which was beautiful! These children are so special and I know that they will do something worthwhile in the future. In addition, we had a chance to go up on stage and present our on the stop dancing and singing skills!
Afterwards, we did some origami with the students and I realized just how bad I am at Oragami. Oh no! The students were very sweet in helping me learn though, and I was extremely thankful. Today was truly beautiful, and one that I would never forget.
Afterwards, we went to the Wide Goose Pagoda, and it was so interesting to see how the Indian culture has adapted the Chinese Buddhist culture. I enjoyed seeing the beautiful temple and hearing more about its history, as well as practicing my calligraphy skills! Tomorrow, we would be visiting the Terra Cotta Warriors and biking on the city wall.