Location: Beijing

Today began with a rather long trip back to the Children’s Hospital after a quick breakfast. While there, we helped out in a variety of ways including spending time playing with the children and cleaning off toys and play mats. We all had an amazing time, and we are beginning to feel a great deal of love for these kids who are without question some of the strongest individuals we’ve ever had the chance to meet. Many of them are burn victims, yet despite the scarring, they still manage to learn, play, and find joy in life. Once our time at the hospital was up, we hopped on the bus and began a ride to the heart of the city. We spent some time at a local street market, which offered products ranging from scorpion on a stick to fidget spinners. Afterward, we made our way to Tiananmen Square, a location surrounded by important government buildings, and we were amused by the surrounding street lamps, which featured a multitude of cameras seemingly pointed in every possible direction. From there, we walked into the Forbidden City, a nearly 700-year-old palace that has been home to 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The architecture was stunning, and as hard as we tried, we could never quite capture the majesty of that place with our cameras. Before exiting, we spent some time lounging in the beautiful and tranquil imperial gardens, which served as a refuge from the sun. To finish the day we played some bonding games. Though those have certainly brought us together, we can probably all agree that nothing facilitates group bonding more than an hour or two on a bus sitting in Beijing traffic. And that pretty much sums up yet another amazing day we’ve had on this trip.