Teachers College Fu Hui Class Elderly Visiting Activity
Eagerly awaiting, when the sun shines bright in July, Teaching Class revisits the elderly in YuanXin Village.
"Im old, one day my speech will slur, my legs will drag, my memory will blur. I don’t want to forget, I must write down your names with pen and paper. When I don’t remember, this will help me keep the memory." - Mr. Huang ChaoBing
Young People of my generation must respect the old and care for the young. Our efforts may be thin as air, but still much needed. Washing clothes, cooking, chopping firewood are small tasks, but they can warm the heart.
All the grandpas and grandmas have lived through life’s many struggles. All their lives are the many faces of our society, their experiences are our living history lessons.
4. After Thoughts
Today we spent time and energy, but we gained so much more in return.
The 4 students’ notes are below:
#1. Community work gives me so much: with children I feel young again; with the elderly I reflect. I have wondered if I can handle old age. But spending time with the elderly taught me I had nothing to worry about.
My first impression of Grandpa Hu is in one word: energy. He rises early, and spends time catching up with his neighbours. I see the lines that life has left on their faces, but even more I see the serenity. My classmate and I helped Grandpa Hu with his laundry, fertilizing his field - all the while he smiles and thanks us. Grandpa Hu emanates strength. He has many dogs who run around the yard with his chickens and ducks. I feel this is the life I want in my old age. He keeps his yard neat and tidy; his house is also spotless. Already in his seventies, he still farms 4 acres of land, all by himself.
When the chores are done we chat with Grandpa Hu. He says he appreciates what the Party has done for him. He tells us about his legend-like youth. His mother died early, resulting in him only completing one year of formal education. He has been ‘making his way’ in the world eversince - selling medicine and various other jobs. Grandpa Hu has even learned acupuncture, and talks about curing patients with rare rashes and brain tumours, etc. His self confidence and authenticity shine through as he talks. Also his resilience - hard to believe he does not have any formal acupuncture training. Grandpa Hu says his son works out of town, and only comes home for a few days each New Year. Though he’s smiling, his loneliness is visible.
To tackle the aging population issue, the government has implemented the Three-Child Policy, and the unprecedented anti-poverty campaign has helped most communities develop their own special industries to retain younger people in their home towns rather than moving to the cities. A lot more work is needed as we forge ahead.
Life is busy and can be hard. But when we see what’s happening around the world in the news, I am so grateful that I live in China.
Today was a happy and meaningful day because I did a most meaningful activity since I started school.
Despite having done community work in the past, I was excited and curious about visiting the elderly in their homes.
On arrival we were assigned to specific households. We would bring them practical items as gifts. My first visit was with a kind grandpa. He set out chairs for us and told us to rest. There was nothing he needed help with. We found a broom and swept his house. When we mentioned his back ache, we gave him a back massage.
All in all I felt today was a meaningful day where I did new things and learned from them. We watched the grandpas chop wood, which looked like fun. We offered to help and realized it wasn’t as simple as it seemed! But it was meaningful and memorable. I think itès a good thing to do besides studying.
I would welcome joining these activities again in the future.
Pan XueMin, Fu Hui Class V19A036
We went to YuanXin Village again today. Every time we see the old folks we’re greeted with such warmth and sincerity. It’s hard to describe the warm, familiar feeling. They have lived nearly a century, have experienced so much struggles and hardship. Today I was impressed by one Grandpa’s self discipline in cleaning his house and piling firewood so neatly. As we cooked a meal for them they chatted about every day annoyances, reminiscences of their younger years and current events.
We did small tasks to show our love for the elderly, while we got to learn about our community, and the loneliness these old folks feel. Our hope is that our companionship has helped them feel some warmth.
I felt inadequate in doing these activities, I wished I could do more. But I did learn from Miss Yue that no matter what we’re doing, we need to do our best and try to do a little better each time to make the most of each activity.
Wan XiaoJiao Fu Hu Class: V19A037
On a beautiful July 3, 2021 morning, bathed in sunshine, I took 116 bus to Yuan Xin Village to do Home Visits. I was assigned to 80-something Huang DeFei who was out for a walk when we arrived. Waiting outside the house next to a cornfield, everything was still except for a dog barking.
Soon he came home and as he opened the door, I was sad to see that he was still using wood to cook. Inside the door is a kitchen, very small. But the dishes and chopsticks were all tidily arranged. There was a dilapidated sofa, the old ‘luxury’ item in the house. On the beam hung a wooden cane, an umbrella and many used face masks. In the room was a bed, and a very shabby cupboard.
Mr. Huang bemoaned that there were a lot of rats, even his oil was eaten. First we cleaned up the house. Then we washed 2 of his quilted cotton coats. The water pump in front of his house was broken. He had to walk a long way to get water. We followed Mr. Huang to a neighbour’s house. It’s clear that he came here often to get water. I was saddened by this. Later it was time to chop wood. We were embarrassed that none of us really knew how to chop wood, except with brute force! We chatted a bit and then it was time to go. We could see the sadness in Mr. Huang’s eyes. He walked with us to the fork in the road and then watched us walk away. I think about how he would deal with the loneliness. It’s the quiet after some activity that is the hardest. One minute the house was filled with laughter, the next minute only him left.
We can do only so little. We need to advocate for more people to do community work.
The holidays are here, let’s meet again when school starts.