Campfire Night!

By Chris S., CE Adviser in China

In the words of Ice Cube, “today was a good day.” Breakfast was interesting, some sort of root like thing and kelp. Honestly, I have had a lot of kelp since being here, and though it is good for me, I still haven’t acquired a taste for it. Out of respect I eat everything that is given to me, even when they give me too much. After breakfast I went back to my room and sent some emails and searched for jobs. Before I knew it, it was lunchtime. Again, we had kelp and some kind of other thing.

After lunch it was pretty hot, so I retreated to my room to look for books on tape that might be interesting. Since I’m not taking a lot of pictures here, I don’t spend a lot of time editing. The kids are just too aggressive with the camera and I can’t take the chance of breaking it.

Somehow, I ended up falling asleep for a few hours. When I woke up it was dinnertime. No kelp! While eating, I was talking with the director of this place and I had told him I was interested in doing something for the kids. I mentioned getting them all new shoes and he said that was a great idea. He told me that a lot of their shoes were either wearing out or just being outgrown.

The director then gave me some insight into the boy that tags along with me everywhere. Apparently, his mother is completely uneducated and doesn’t really speak. I guess she speaks, but no one can understand her. The boy is the only surviving child out of nine. She had lost the rest of them one way or another. This is probably why he doesn’t speak. I am donating 1000 RMB for the shoes and an additional 100 for this child to buy some new clothes. If anyone would lie to donate, email me and I would be happy to give some money on you behalf and I can get the money from you when I get back. A pair of shoes is about 10 RMB. 500 RMB equals about  $75 US.

After dinner, it was time for more basketball. Again my team won, but it was closer.  One of the children on the other team was pretty good and I hadn’t seen him before. He had a sweet Steve Perry, circa 1985 haircut. Now I’m in bed downloading some podcast and getting ready for bed.

Change of plans. I got a knock on the door from one of the young boys and when I answered it, he handed me a quarter of a watermelon. Everyone was downstairs eating watermelon, so I joined in. The next thing I knew, I was teaching the children how to make roasted marshmallows over the fire. After the fire, the director’s wife started throwing candy onto the basketball court and the children scrambled. Mind you it is almost pitch black.

After the kids collected their bounties, she brought out the crackers. I was appalled; we should have brought those out with the marshmallows to make smores, sans the Hershey bar of course. After the crackers came the apples, or maybe they were pears.  I have a feeling these kids will be up all night from all the sugar.

I was also told that we will visit the ice cream factory tomorrow and bring back enough for all the children.

These kids are very happy all things considered. I guess that is one thing that I can take away from this experience; it’s not about accumulating the most objects that brings happiness. Although, you get me a new Audi S4 and I’ll be smiling for quite some time!


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