Time Abroad: Fall 2007
My most memorable experience abroad would have to be when our program spent the weekend in the Henan Province volunteering for a non-profit organization that worked with families in rural areas who either had HIV+ parents and/or their children. Our first visit was to a school of about 40 children or so. We spent some time in the classroom teaching English, then we all went outside and played basketball and Red Rover. The children were so happy to see people that were different from them and really enjoyed playing with us. I remember that all the children were so good at retaining the words we taught them and being able to recognize the different pictures we drew. The next day, each of us in the program spent the entire day with a "buddy" from a different rural area than those at the school. We took them to an amusement park/historical site where there was a lake for paddle boats, amusement park attractions, carnival games, and other children activities. I spent the day with two sisters, aged about 7 and 4, and we went on a paddle boat, played carnival games, and went on amusement rides. At first the girls were quite shy, but after a little while they opened up to us and you could tell that they were enjoying themselves so much. I will always remember when the younger sister and I went on the bumper cars together, she giggled and laughed the whole time and was so excited whenever someone would bump into us. At the end of the day, we walked back to the bus hand in hand and I had to say goodbye. That was probably one of the hardest things I had to do because I knew that I would never see them again and that they would go back to their difficult way of life and in reality, never be able to improve their standard of living. I still hope that when I return to China, that I would be able to find them and help as much as I could to let them live a better life that they truly deserve.