After the presentation of Heidi's, we passed out bags of personal care products and visited with the women and admired the children which was not hard to do. Some of them we remembered from last year....Mothers are the same throughout the world...the pride on their faces when we say pretty or want to take a photo shines like the sun~
We sang songs to them and with them...sometimes if the melody was familiar to them they sang back to us. It was beautiful. These trips are not all about doing things for them or giving them things. It is forming relationships and memories that go beyond what our political leaders can do. When I am smiling and singing - I wonder...will that child watching me someday be in a leadership position and remember the friendly and kind Americans that visited his school? One never knows.
Then came one of the highlights of my travels......The political leaders of this area stepped forward with much formality and spoke in Chinese to Heidi and began a ceremony presenting us with beautiful handmade scrolls for our service to them over the past few years. The scrolls will become heirlooms in our families, I am sure.
I so wish I had the capability of posting photos. We were all so touched by this gift. This village is so poor that there are not words and here they did this for us. There were many tears.
Over the years our group has done a lot of fundraising plus personal contributions to give the school playground equipment, teacher desks, books, keyboards, student tables/desks/ basketball courts, schoolbags, school supplies and more.
After much picture taking, we were taken to a local place to eat....I just gulped when I saw the place and realized I needed to make nice and not offend them by not eating. There was a girl in the corner of a room washing chopsticks in one of those pails on wheels that you see janitors using when mopping floors. The water was filthy and sure enough when she came to our tables a few minutes later she placed a set by each of our plates, still wet. My little plate was soiled.
I need to explain here.....In China the meals are served family style with the various dishes placed on a large lazy susan in the center of a large round table. There is room around the edges for your small tea cup, water glass and small plate-saucer sized. The servers bring out huge platters of food...huge bowls, earthen bowls, baskets..it is very interesting to see the various presentations.
There are no serving utensils...people use their chopsticks to take what they want ...they eat off their chopsticks and place it right back in the food....it would be like us eating off our fork and using it to take more food out of the serving dish...more later