Hi!! It’s been a week into winter break and due to family matters, had to cancel a much anticipated trip to Tailand 😦 I thought we were doomed to spend the rest of winter break cooped up at home when my mom announced a day trip to !!!! YAY. So on Monday afternoon, we packed our bags and hoped on a train to FuZhou, a small rural county in JiangXi Province.
JiangXi is a small province in South Eastern China which borders Anhui, Hubei, Zhejiang, Yunan, and Guandong(Canton). It’s mountainous and has a warm, humid climate. Although it has begun to urbanize in recent years, it is predominately rural and grows a wide variety of crops such as rice, sweet potato and clementines. We didn’t go this time, but it also includes many national parks and Jindezheng, an ancient town that produces a majority of China’s porcelain.
Why FuZhou? Well, my family recently got involved with a charity called 中国娃, which collects second hand computers and books to create libraries and computer labs in rural schools. A family from Shanghai recently supported and completed a lab in FuZhou, but were unable to come to dedicate it. The organizer, now a great friend of my mom’s, immediately called us and asked us if we could be the representatives.
To be honest, I didn’t have very high expectations for the environment. My mom said it was rural and rather poor so I got a bit worried. However, I immediately changed my mind when I got there. First, the scenery was absolutely beautiful. We were surrounded with mountains and the rain brought a cool, swirling mist. The only sad part was that we couldn’t hike.
The area also wasn’t as run down as I had expected. Almost everything was well kept and clean. Even the the narrow mountain roads were smooth and comfortable. But the best part was the people we met. Everyone there was extremely grateful and received us with the upmost hospitality.
What We Did There
The first night was just traveling, nothing much to say there. The magic began the second day. We got up, ate breakfast and drove to the school to help with the new lab. After an hour’s drive along mountain roads, we arrived at the school.
The school had recently been destroyed by heavy rains and had just been rebuilt. Most of the kids that go here have parents that work in the city as domestic help and only see their parents once or twice a year. This sad reality didn’t seem to hamper their enthusiasm for learning. We headed up to the third floor where the lab was. There were about 50 kids there, all eager to start.
They excitedly opened the laptops and began clicking and exploring.My brother and I went around and helped too. Within 20 min, nearly all could access the internet and do searches. It was absolutely AMAZING.
After that, we visited several other schools in the area. We quickly realized that the problem was not with the facilities, but with the lack of teachers. Some of the schools had only 1 or 2 teachers to cover 3-5 grade levels. Even though there were sometimes less than 30 students, the teachers were clearly over worked. 😦 On a happier note, the locals treated us to fresh clemintines and lunch time soon came. Delicious!!!! The rest of the day was spent resting and going back to Shanghai
One word: AMAZING!!!!!! JiangXi cuisine is known for being spicy and aromatic which is not something I usually like, but there were soo many delicious dishes. Even better, all the produce is fresh, locally grown and organic. For lunch the second day, they took us to the cafeteria of the local governemnt office.
There, we found a table full of delicious eats. I got to try some very interesting local delicacies, like fried goose neck, sweet potato flour balls in broth, and egg mushrooms. Unfortunately, I didn’t get more pictures
So that’s it for this trip. Merry Christmas and Happy holidays 🙂