Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Challenging Roads Lead to Wondrous Opportunities

Jake and Max have again been tasked with the blog for the day - with a few additions from Steve and Scott. It would have been posted sooner except Scott had to narrow down his 590 pictures from the  day to match what we wanted to write.

Our day began with a western breakfast of eggs, pancakes, and bacon at the Compass CafĂ©, which is one of many business aspects that the Compass utilizes.  After a hearty American breakfast we set out on our next leg of our journey to a village called Tsing Yi.

David, our guide, had a small mix up with how big our vehicle needed to be.  So, we crammed nine people into a van with four in the way back.  It should be noted that the Chinese drivers seem that air conditioning is pointless as the driver, and Steve, went back and forth turning it on and off.  We found that the temperature was the least of our worriers as we embarked on the "highway."  Filled with pot holes and being a fairly narrow road we became a little on edge.  However, the good Lord looked over our driver and got us everyone to the village safely.

As we arrived in the village we were greeted by a school full of youngsters.  This school is a project of Vic, another one of our guides.  The kids were initially shy, but they began to light up as we taught them how to say Go Hawks and Rose Bowl (it was obvious Dan and Deb Timmons had not made the journey this year).  The children then became ecstatic as we handed out six Wartburg Orange balls.  After they caught the ball the children were then greeted with a high five from the big foreigners.  The kids finally got the hang of sharing and throwing the balls back and forth to each other.  This then began to cause mayhem as Max realized throwing three balls in the air at once really gets these youngsters going.

The school itself is in need of a lot of repair due to vandals breaking windows and causing damage to the school.  These vandals believe the children do not need an education to herd yak and collect mushrooms.  We were reminded of how little some people have and how things that seem to mean nothing to us make a big difference to others.  The school has so many needs for the 60 children who attend.  They have two teachers who each make $2,250 ANNUALLY! The children are taken into town once each month for a shower.  It appears that the right people are in place to enhance the basic needs of the school and Vic intends to continue to include SCF in his vision for the future of these students and this area. 

We capped off our day at the school by using funds that were donated to SCF from our Aunt Jennie - who is a teacher.  We presented these to the school teacher who will use the funds to buy new desks for the kids.

As Jake and Max left the school yard to go look at the basketball courts they spotted a younger child in the field.  Jake waved him over and he ran with glee.  They decided this was an ideal time to teach a young Chinese boy how to play catch with an American pigskin.  Needless to say he had some great coaches and the kid was a natural.  He began running routes around the courtyard.  It reminded us of the tailgates in the dental parking lot back home.

We then made our way to one of the teacher's houses where we shared a great view from their roof and not so great yak butter tea.  A large dog chained to a not so large tree seemed to bark at anything that was in plain sight.  We then left the premise and entered another hour long bus ride.

The next part of our day included  going on a hike/tour with our guide Andy who is originally from upstate New York.  He has lived in China for six years with his wife and three young boys and they all absolutely love life here.  We started the tour in his village where we had the best yak butter tea we have experienced.  We also enjoyed very good conversation with this guy who was trying to figure out his calling in life.  We then took our tour in his old fashioned Jeep coined the Beijing Beater.  He was such a great guide hat he even found a roadside stand so Scott could get a Coke in his Tyler's Bottling shirt.We hiked in the foothills of the Himalayas and enjoyed fresh air and piles of yak dung.  We saw amazing sights and it was well worth the time and money spent.

We concluded our day with a Yak Hot Pot at a local restaurant and some time spent in Old Town.  Another great day filled with the love of family, adventure, and building relationships to make a difference in the lives of others.

Tomorrow will travel 6 hours by bus to the Wexi area. The next day we can either walk an hour ad a half or ride a tractor to an area that has friends of SCF.   As small as the world has become, there are still a few places that don't have Verizon coverage so we will be off the grid for the next couple of days and catch up with you when we arrive in LiJiang.

Scott Raecker | Executive Director
Character Counts In Iowa

Ph: 515-271-1911


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