Location: Beijing

Today was the first day of full service in Beijing. It started at a more reasonable time than yesterday, aside for a few teen girls who went for a run but quickly returned due to the oppressive heat even at 6:30 in the morning. We then split up, half of us going to the baby home and the other half, including myself, spending the morning at the group home, which is for children with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 20. I think it is fair to say that those 3 hours were some of the most intense and enjoyable of our lives. There were approximately 30 children running around, mostly under ten years old, almost none of which would admit that they understood English, with the added responsibility of being sensitive and cautious of their various disabilities. Of course, they were all adorable, but at the same time, we wanted to make sure we were caring for them correctly while having a great time. We all became increasingly more confident and began to figure out tactics to keep the kids entertained for hours, which games would make which children laugh, and who did speak English when coaxed. I discovered that one little boy would spend hours throwing a ball through a roll of tape, and could not grow bored of the magic of the etch-a-sketch, despite the fact that he wouldn’t even tell me his name. I also was extremely proud when I taught a gorgeous 3-year-old girl, whose name I know but will not attempt to spell, the words ‘apple’ and ‘face’ using play dough. After an extremely rewarding morning, we returned to a delicious lunch of tacos made by Jaclyn and Sarah and then got a bit deep, and all said what we brought to the program, things we aimed to achieve and things that could bring the group and us down. After lunch, we all packed into the buses and went to a Chinese lady’s art studio, where half of us did calligraphy, and the other half practiced traditional Chinese painting. The lady was an excellent teacher and was very open about people’s talents or lack thereof, which was great for everyone. We were then treated to a traditional Chinese tea, before heading back home exhausted after a great day. After dinner, the founder of China Little Flower, Brent Johnson, talked to us about the history of China which was very interesting.