Well, they had been eating a whole lot of it, and now they have a whole new appreciation for it.........rice! Each morning the students met for a breakfast of banana pancakes and toast, then headed out to a local rice paddy. There they learned to pull stalks, pull rice, separate seeds.....all things I'm sure they never envisioned themselves doing! Clothed in their rubber boots, straw hats, pants, and long sleeves to protect themselves from mosquitoes, it was HOT and the hard labor didn't help! Brianna said it was so hot, you just pour sweat standing still. She also mentioned a particular pesky problem....the presence of spiders....lots of them! B, well, she HATES spiders! A little farming experience, a little work on conquering your fear of spiders.....all while dripping in sweat! Needless to say, of all the community service projects they did, this one was not her favorite. I told her that although she wasn't necessarily enjoying it, she should go there with he eyes wide open and take it all in anyway....she promised she would. She did love the village they were in. She said it was beautiful, and peaceful there.
The early afternoons in Chengyang Dong brought them some down time where they had lunch and relaxed a little before heading to the local elementary school to teach English to the school children there. According to the trip leaders, the group did an excellent job coming up with topics to teach, dividing up responsibilities, and implementing their ideas. Working as a group, in and of itself, I'm sure has been a great learning experience. Brianna was AMAZED by how smart the students were!!! She was so surprised when two of the girls went up to the board and wrote a sentence, in English, complete with conjunctions and commas! That is pretty amazing!
Evenings in this peaceful village where spent on the deck of their hotel, having dinner, reminiscing about their day, and playing some group games.
For the next part of their adventure, they boarded a bus, and took a five hour ride to Yangshou....a beautiful town with views of the Li River and karst topography. Here they took a scenic bicycle ride, a bamboo raft ride down the Li River, and went on a morning hike to Moon Hill. They even took a Chinese cooking class!
Ending their time in China, they headed back to Beijing to tour some more of China's famous sites. They visited Tianamen Square, and the Forbidden City, places whose history Brianna is fascinated by but until now has only read about. Their final night in China was spent having a celebratory meal, where they reflected back on their accomplishments, the memories they have made and friendships they've built over the past month. With only ONE night left having to worry about eating or drinking something she shouldn't, poor Brianna got VERY sick! Her phone call, so very much anticipated, brought me the voice I hadn't heard in two weeks......and it sounded awful! By the time I talked to her she was doing a little better than she had during the night and her trip leader seemed to be taking very good care of her. By the time she boarded the plane (which got delayed over four hours!) from Beijing to LA, she was feeling a little better, but not well. Her text message upon landing in LA did bring me some comfort. She said she was feeling better, but had no appetite at all......I'll take that!
My next post will be after she arrives home!!!! Be patient, it may take me a few days!