Although students had found it tough adapting to the living conditions and the language barrier made it difficult for some to communicate with the local children, the experience of meeting new people and making new friends made the trip a great success. Here are some comments by students at the end of the trip.
Baiwan is an unforgettable place, with unforgettable people. From the friends you bring along to the friends you make, each person brings their own qualities that make Baiwan a unique experience. We got to experience Baiwan’s culture, talking to local children and immersing ourselves in their simple and calm lifestyle. The highlight of this trip was, of course, teaching children in local primary and secondary schools. It is very meaningful to feel like you have made a tangible difference in someone else’s life, especially someone less fortunate than you, so I am grateful for this opportunity. Baiwan, and the children there, will always have a special place in my heart.
白湾是个令人难忘的地方,有令人难忘的人物.由一起参与旅程以致在旅程中认识的新朋友,每人都有其独特之处,使到白湾成为独一无二的经验.我们要体验白湾的文化, 跟当地的孩子倾谈并嵌入他们简单而平静的生活.旅程的重点当然是在当地的小学和中学教授.可以替他人的生命带来实质的改变这个感觉真捧, 特别是没有你那么幸运的人; 所以我十分感激这个机会.白湾和那里的孩子将永远占据我心里一个特别的位置.
In my opinion, there is only one way to describe the Baiwan QW trip: a breathe of fresh air. During the trip, I was exposed to a world completely different to mine; I experienced the environment of people a lot less fortunate than me, and I was blessed to share the skills of something so important to me: music. Most importantly though, this QW trip took me away from the harsh realities that frequently bugged me in Hong Kong. I had never realized I was so busy back at home until I saw the lifestyle of the people in the Baiwan community. Though this is more of a self-centred prospect, this is something that I am extremely grateful for from this trip.
If I knew how the environment and surrounding was like, I wouldn’t have signed myself up for this. But I’m glad I did. Apart from feeling that I’ve overcame all my fears of living in a dirty and worn out place by living with a squat toilet, showering with cold water, getting bit by bugs and walking along a street full of poop for five consecutive days, being able to teach the students in Baiwan is probably going to be one of my best experiences for these seven years of my life in Island School.
Seeing how the students and everyone lived there, I suddenly realized how much I took everything for granted. I didn’t have to walk 30 minutes on a rocky muddy road to get to school. I didn’t have to stay till 9:40 at night studying in school. They sacrifice so much for their education, but their education still lacked so much. So many of them still don’t know where they’re heading to after middle school. Their future is so unclear and nothing could be guaranteed. I wanted to help them, but there was nothing I could do. All I could do was put all my effort and sincerity into teaching them in the four days of this trip, hoping they would enjoy it and get something out of it. There were students that loved learning, some students that were frustrating to handle. They tested my patience and also my understanding as a teacher. It was disappointing that some of them didn’t see the time we used to prepare the lessons, but what I was more worried about was whether they understood and wanted to be in the class. To me, seeing them leave the classroom smiling was already enough. Of course, them holding my hands and asking when I would come back made me even happier.
看到每个在那儿生活的人和学生,我突然发觉我把一切当作理所当然.我不需要在充满泥沙的石子路上走三十分钟上学.我不需要在学校学习至晚上九时四十分.他们为了读书犠牲那么多, 但他们的教育仍旧有那么多的缼失.大部份人不知道初中毕业后的去向.他们的未来是不清晰亦没有任何保障.我希望帮助他们但没有什么可以做.我唯一可做的是把所有的心力投放在这四天的教学里, 希望他们会享受那些课堂并有所得着.有些学生很喜欢学习,有些令人十分头疼.他们在测试我的耐性和作为老师的认知.有些学生不知道我们备课所花的时间使我十分失望,但更令我担心的是他们是否明白课堂内容和是否想留在班上.在我来说, 见到他们笑着下课已经足够.当然,若他们拖着我手问我何时再来会使我更加快乐.
Seeing them, I realized I slightly envied them and also felt the need to be humble. The students enjoy their school life. They work so hard even though they’re unsure of where they’re heading. They didn’t know what brands were; they didn’t know how to compare themselves in the number and cost of materials they had. They don’t find their happiness in that either. They welcome and greet us with real joy and thankfulness. Having talked to one of the students that invited us over to her home, I found out how much relationships were treasured in the community. Their happiness wasn’t based on what they didn’t have, but what they already have: their family and friends.
None of our lessons followed our original teaching plan, and having repeated the same lessons multiple times, the lessons became more and more different than how we planned it to be. I learned that it’s impossible to just assume that one lesson plan fits four to six different classes of children, because the standard and attitude of each class is different, and that we had to improvise and not mind shifting our focus according to the group of students we had to cater.
I hope I had put more effort in planning the lessons and materials for them because I want them to receive the best from us. Now that I know the students’ English standards in general, I can improve my future lessons by making it more appropriate and interesting for them, and also improve in my organization of the lesson.
I think I might have taken a lot more out of this trip than the students. Overcoming fears, testing my perseverance and commitment, learning to be thankful for what I had, learning to live my life with their attitude, realizing that they need our love and care and choosing to go back once again to give them that love and care. A few days of living this lifestyle really isn’t much compared to the fulfillment of lighting up their lives a bit.
I came with the attitude of wanting to leave. But I left, wanting to go back.