Year 11 Week without Walls 2017

Heishan Village

Day 1

Year 11 left bright and early from dragon house, even though we had an early departure spirits were high. It was a 4.5-hour journey up to Northern Guangdong. Despite being in the same province the scenery changed drastically during the journey. As we moved up into the mountains we were treated to some rolling hills and interesting topography.

After lunch on the road, we went to our first stop which was a rural temple village, where the students were treated to beautiful scenery and lively rural atmosphere. We then departed for our hotel for the night, with some scenic overlooks stops on the way. After dinner at the hotel, we were treated to a minority performance from the Yao people.

It was a great opportunity for students to be risk-takers as they were asking for volunteers from the crowd. Most students were eager to participate in the experience and it was great to watch. It was a great first day and we look forward to our move out of the hotel and into our rural home-stays tomorrow. Good luck on your journeys this week. Regards, Greg, Rosie, Paul, and Carrie.

Day 2

We started out the day transitioning from our hotel in Qing Yuan to our homestays in Heishan Village. The homestay is the framework for the entire year 11 camp, as it allows the students to be fully emersed in the local lifestyle in this minority village.

After our riverboat cruise in the morning, the student were asked to pick some vegetables, that they then prepared for their own lunch. All of the food that the students consume in Heishan is locally grown or raised here. It is a great way for the students to see sustainability in action in this local village. After our delicious lunch, the student then went into the fields to see what farming by hand is like. We all soon found out that it was a lot more difficult than originally expected.

After two hours of hard work in the field, the student were able to see some results. We were asked to plant a small patch of garlic, which will later be harvested. After our agricultural experienced, we embarked on a trip to the top of the village. After a 45 minute hike, we reached the top of the rice terraces, which Heishan is famous for. The student were able to get a bird’s eye view of the entire village and in doing so gave them a little perspective of life in this village.

The day ended with a delicious dinner and some games. Tomorrow will allow the student a chance to really jump into service as they are able to interact with the local primary school. More updates to come.

Day 3

Day 3 was very service centered. The students started on a multiple dayservice project at the local school, that involved beautification of the campus. The students worked very hard in the morning preparing and cleaning a wall that they would later paint.

After lunch, the students ran a class with the local primary school. The students broke up into groups and went into the year 1, 2, and 3 classes two get ideas about what the students would like to see painted on their walls at school. After the brainstorming sessions, the UISZ played games with their assigned year groups.

The day ended with students working on planting a garden at the school. We will continue our work on Day 4. It has been some tiring work, for both the teachers and student but we are all seeing the impact of our work on the faces of the children.

Day 4

We completed the service project we started the previous day. In reflection, some of the students said it was some of the most difficult work that they did, but it was easy for them to see the benefits on the faces of the students of the local school we worked with. The students were also able to complete a project from start to finish. That type of perseverance and commitment to a service experience is essential to being an IB student. Below you will see some pictures with a brief description of them.

Day 5

I hope that your child enriching WWW. These experiences that kids have had this week are the ones that they will most remember and that was most apparent on our final full day in Heishan.

We started the day by hiking up to the tea terraces of Heishan to pick some tea that we would later turn into drinkable tea. The students were able to see the process of how tea is made and then participated in a tea ceremony. The students were treated to a variety of different teas and learned some of the history of tea within China.

In the afternoon on the way to the tea factory, we were able to stop at a beehive and watch how honey is harvest and even got some small tastes of honey and honeycomb. This was an unexpected experience but a good one for the students.

After dinner was the highlight of the day, we had a campfire and performances. The teachers started off the performances with some magic, Irish dancing, and rapping. The students then took the mic and sang various songs and had some very interesting interpretative performances. The night ended with some games around the campfire. On our way back to the homestays we were treated to a beautiful, clear, night sky. It was so clear that you could see a sky full of stars and even the Milky Way. It was such a great way to end our time at Heishan, looking up at the starts and reflecting.


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