Location: Dong Er Gou & Beijing

Today at 7 am, everyone crowded into the small hotel restaurant for a breakfast of Congee, milk, some buffet vegetables and bread from a nearby bakery. Soon after breakfast, we settled down on the bus en route to the morgue, in a very rural area of Tai Yuan, that stores Little Flower’s children’s ashes. We solemnly walked down the dirt road and passed chicken coops, curious villagers and stray dogs, but we all knew what was about to happen. When we got to the morgue, Catherine and Joy pried, open a rusty red gate. After a short exchange, we were led up flights of stone steps by the owner of the morgue. On the sides of the steps were shiny black tombstones, some decorated with flowers. At the top, the owner unlocked the building, and we silently walked into a big room with drawers on two sides, each holding the ashes and some photos. We followed Catherine to the corner of the room, and she took out four small bags of Little Flower’s babies. After a few minutes of everyone reading the descriptions and name tags of the babies, Catherine gently placed them in the Little Flower drawer. We stood in a semicircle around the drawer of ashes and had a moment of silence. When we were all ready, we walked back to the bus on the dirt road.

After refilling water bottles, we started a long trek to the top of a hill to see a Chinese style cathedral. Then, we ate lunch.

The bus ride back to Beijing took eight grueling hours of sleeping, talking, singing and taking photos. Once every few hours we got off the bus to get some snacks and use the bathroom. Now we’re back at headquarters and are waiting for Mac and Cheese. And now we have to say goodbye to Joy who is off to Shanghai!