Time-lapse video by Kenny
It takes more than a typhoon and a broken down bus to stop Y11 reaching the 1000 year old minority village on top of a mountain. Students and staff were on the road early Saturday morning. After a short unplanned stop for a mechanical issue with the bus we were on the road again and reached the minority village at our scheduled time of 3:30pm. Students and staff alike enjoyed stretching their legs as they ascended the 365 stairs to the temple on top of the mountain. We finished the evening with a traditional performance where Pedro and Kenny became the stars of the show when they joined the action on stage donning authentic dance costumes.
After a beautiful traditional southern Chinese breakfast we bid farewell to our hotel and boarded the bus to head for Heishan. We arrived at our destination early and spent some time meeting our new home stay families and settling in to our rooms. Prior to lunch we ascended the mountain behind the village to gain a better appreciation of the picturesque landscape that we will be calling home for the next week. The afternoon was spent completing service at the local primary school. It was amazing to see what can be accomplished when a group of people work together for a common cause. Following some basketball, volleyball and calisthenics we sat down to a beautiful dinner put together from the local produce.
“The pen is lighter than the shovel … I think I will study hard.” Pedro Students and teachers devoted the third day of their camp completing service beneath majestic mountains shrouded in cloud.
Under the watchful eye of local villagers, the majority of the day was spent cultivating the land. This was followed by the sowing of various crops that will eventually help to feed the community.
As the day drew to a close and the rain steadily fell it was impossible not to feel an overwhelming sense of satisfaction.
Some service is more difficult than others. Today’s service consisted of shoveling out drains used to carry much needed water to the numerous small plots in the valley. To many it would have felt like a thankless task, but not even the rain could dampen the spirits of the nineteen strong UISZ students. Additionally, the group identified that there was a need to remove refuse that had accumulated along these lifelines. This turned into a spontaneous rubbish collection on the way back to the village for lunch.
The day culminated with dinner at our home stays which allowed us to gain a deeper insight into the families that have so graciously opened their doors to us.
Following a night of celebrations signified by regular and loud firework displays … the majority of the morning was spent familiarising ourselves with the finer details of sand, stone and shovels. Students worked as a cohesive team to bring the village one step closer to having a concrete path connecting them to the rice paddies.
After lunch more time was devoted to the primary school. The signage on the freshly painted walls depicting different sporting activities was competed. UISZ students also entered the various classrooms in the school where’s they worked along side their younger counterparts to improve their learning environments.