Location: Beijing, China
History will record that the greatest tragedy was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good ones. Martin Luther King’s words could not give a clearer purpose to the work we have been doing since arriving in China. Today’s activities, while ordinary in appearance, were anything but in reality. We began with service, spending our time at both the baby home and the group homes. The group that went to the baby home cut cloth to make new beds for the babies, and the group home volunteers played soccer and gave piggy back rides to the heart’s content of the squealing young kids. The exhaustion felt after a few hours of work might have felt common for the repetition of it over the past week or so, but when I look upon what we have been doing from an outsider’s perspective, I can see that it might seem strange. It was UNordinary for us to follow our lunch with a trip to Beijing’s art district. It was unordinary to travel through the various shops looking at the hand-painted, handcrafted, hand sewn, and generally handmade items whose origins we take for granted until we see the very hands that made them. Our group forum tonight left me in a peculiar mood. It also left me with more than a few thoughts. We all claim to be good people, and in our way, most of us are. The people on this trip seemed like good people, but no better than the good people I live with or the good people I go to school with. Goodness, even greatness, live in thoughts. However, change, and more importantly, positive change, live in action. I now realize that it is enough to know that we are doing something to make a difference in the lives of these children, and more importantly that we are not remaining silent when faced with something that we can change. If people truly deserve to be judged by their actions rather then by their words, then I can say beyond any shadow of a doubt that the group I have been with in this cramped and yet love-filled apartment is comprised of some of the most incredible people on this Earth.