Location: Baotou - Datong
The 16th day in China began with the realization that our journey is coming to an end in a short four days. Although everyone was pretty exhausted from the day before, our counselors rallied us with a speech on perseverance and the reminder that we can always lean on each other for support. Our cheesiest, and most Jabroni-like counselor, Shaun, continued his pep talk with a few quotes that really stuck with me, specifically: “Adventure doesn’t begin until something goes wrong, “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it”, and “Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors because everyone appreciates different things”. As the day continued I battled a slight cold and decided, it would be best to go outside with the older disabled children. I had the opportunity to help a boy named Jong Jong out of his wheelchair and assist him as he walked around. Although it was tiring, his resilience and persistence made it worth it. I kept referring to my new friend with the endearing term “buddy,” and by the end of the day he had picked it up, even though we spoke different languages and referred to me as his Buddy. After service, my two friends and I sat in a pagoda in the park directly outside the orphanage; we sat together writing in our journals and listening to the crickets, enjoying some delicious local peaches. Tonight we head to the train again for our journey to Datong where we will find the Buddhist Caves and the Hanging Monastery!