Location: Baotou

Today we began our day as we usually do, with morning service at the orphanage. On the way over, we picked up a few delicious, piping hot wonton soups to try something local for breakfast. The rest of us enjoyed a simple breakfast of yogurt, cereal, and OJ at the apartment. Realizing that our service was coming to an end, we were all filled with a bittersweet sentiment as we enjoyed some of the last moments that we’d be sharing with the babies and children at the orphanage. Following service, we all went back to the apartment to prepare some spaghetti and salad for lunch. Because we were planning to leave the apartment for a few days, we decided to sweep, mop, and tidy up a bit before heading out. Following cleanup, we had an intense and passionate group discussion where we revisited the group rules that we established together on Day 1.

Given that this was one of our last group check-ins, we tried to develop a group game plan that would guide the 14 of us for the final third of the program. When it was time to head back to the hotel to pack, we walked back and threw together our three day-3 night bags and brought our bigger bags up to the hotel’s storage room. Right after, we met in the lobby and jumped into the van to head to the train station. After passing through the security and spotting McDonald’s, some of the group decided to order their dinner from there, and the rest picked up other train snacks and meals for the ride to Datong. During the 5-hour train ride, we chatted with locals, played cards, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery between Baotou and Datong. We’re now in the Datong hotel and are preparing for tomorrow’s Buddhist Caves and Hanging Monastery adventure.