Bamboo Pilgrim

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  There are some things I am not accustomed to seeing like a handcart (wheelbarrow) strapped on the back of a motorcycle.  Note the hand poles.  They are hard to see, because they are painted brown.  They are sticking out. In fairness, I have seen oversized loads like piping and construction supplies sticking out of trucks in the back in America, but normally they are secured length-wise with straps and an identifiable… Read More

   It has been a while since I have seen this in America, a woman plucking her chicken for the evening meal.  She has a pair of tweezers in her hand. My grandmother did this on the farm. This woman was in the market village square, among friends, conducting business as usual. It makes the chicken meal more delicious knowing the work that goes into the meal.

   First aid training for counselors at camp in Lijiazhai, Henan for the Mei Wen English Summer Camps this summer. We covered cuts, sprained ankles, concussions, and heat exhaustion and what to do as first responders until trained medical personnel arrive.  Thanks, Mim!

      Sometimes you find the most interesting things while cleaning a middle school. Check out this beauty from the insect world — scarab beetle. One less insect for the dorm rooms!

   Every summer camp the first item of business is to mop and disinfect the floor of the cafeteria from mildew.  High humidity and the tropical climate creates an ideal environment for mold to grow. Vigilant care must be taken to disinfect with cleaning chemicals that actually kill mold, a feat not easily accomplished, since the mildew embeds itself in the pocked concrete. We mopped with brooms made of cloth strips. Fortunately… Read More

    We are hiking Jighonshan today with a group of Americans who have gathered in Lijiazhai to help staff an English Camp for 350 children over the next 5 weeks. These camps are sponsored by China Service Ventures (www.chinaserviceventures.org) and run by Mei Wen, Inc.  (a social enterprise organization) in Henan, China. They focus on serving children at risk from rural villages with economic hardships and absent parents.

Mutianyu, a favorite Great Wall site among visiting dignitaries and tourists, has undergone some drastic remodeling and reconfiguration.  Buses now transport visitors within a short walk of the gondola that takes visitors to the Great Wall. All the shops that once lined the narrow street, forming a gauntlet of market hagglers has now been relocated and dispersed down the mountainside to a spacious shop area at the point of entry.  All this… Read More

    Today we went to distribute Bo Ai (Boundless Love) scholarship money to qualified students attending the No. 2 High School in Xinyang, Henan, China.   The students are “stay behind” children, a government designation, to indicate children who have one or both parents working in other cities. These children tend to be poor with little resources available to them. No. 2 High School is also a boarding school for about 9000… Read More

As educators working with Mei Wen (a registered, Chinese social enterprise in Henan, People’s Republic of China), my wife and I were excited to be introduced to the principal and administrators of the Xinyang School of Aviation Services and Vo-tech High School in the Pingqiao District, Henan. The Pingqiao Vo-tech school is the approximate equivalent of a U.S. Title 1 School, wherein, the school receives government funding to serve the at-risk child from… Read More

The finer points of grammar On the left, our language teacher, Yang Yu, explains to us how to convey spatial relationships, using “inside” (里边) and three different verbal constructions: 1) something (在) something; 2) someplace 有 something; and, 3) someplace (是)something. A literal English translation of the Chinese sentence structure reads: 1) Three students are the room’s inside 2) The room’s inside has three students 3) The bag’s inside is the Chinese… Read More

Today we discovered from our teacher the official retirement ages, as mandated by the government of China. These ages, I understand, are mandated, with few exceptions. Think of it as compulsory retirement. The average male (see Index Mundi data below) in China enjoys 12 years or retirement before death, but a woman enjoys 27 years — but her compulsory age of retirement is much earlier, at the age of 50 years. This… Read More

This year (April 5, 2015), 清明 – Qingming (Tomb-Sweeping Day), coincided with Easter Sunday. According to Wikipedia, translated as “pure brightness,” 清明 – Qingming is celebrated on the first day of the fifth solar term of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. This makes it the 15th day after the Spring Equinox, either April 4th or 5th any given year. Although celebrated as a national holiday in China, 清明 – Qingming has religious… Read More