May 14, 2011-Light and Love School

[caption id="attachment_132" align="alignnone" width="427" caption="Some of the girls members of the group danced with at the school."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_133" align="alignnone" width="442" caption="Learning a dance from some of the girls at the school."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_134" align="alignnone" width="429" caption="One of the bedrooms"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_135" align="alignnone" width="428" caption="The students' cafeteria."][/caption]

Today is our third day in Beijing! This city is cool because it has many more historic spots we have visited with traditional Chinese architecture than in Shanghai. Today we visited Light and Love School in a rural part of Beijingabout an hour away from our hotel. It was like an orphanage but not only orphans live there. Students are also allowed to live there or go to school there if their family is poor and unable to take care of them, or if their family refuses to take care of them. There are over 100 students ages 7-17 who live and go to school at Light and Love School with 16 teacher/staff volunteers. It was a lot bigger than I expected. There were 4 or 5 long buildings that were divided into individual rooms that were used for living space and classrooms. The buildings themselves are very old and pretty run down. But what was inside them surprised me. People had donated instruments so the children could learn to play. There was even an art room and dance studio! The young girls there love to dance and they are really good! They taught us some dances and it was a lot of fun. Needless to say we weren’t as good as them. However, Logan, from our group, even taught them the dances to “Beat It” and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson; they liked that. J It was really awesome to see that these kids were still happy and had found something they loved. The kids were just so talented. I think it is a great organization because kids can get an education here that they would not have gotten at other orphanages. Terry and Jessie told us that most children, girls especially, are not pushed to do anything when they live in an orphanage all their life, so when they have to leave at age 18, they don’t have the motivation to try to succeed because no one has taught them. One 13 year old girl at the Light and Love School named Lilly was the complete opposite of what they described. She spoke great English and she told us she wanted to go to a school comparable to Harvard and Yale in the U.S. and that she wanted to work in finance. She was so bright and I was so excited to see that she still had so many dreams, confidence and a drive to succeed. I think that the environment and the resources that this school provides has made all the difference. It was a great experience to be able to witness what is happening in the outskirts of Beijing, China firsthand.

-Kelsey-

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