Ni Hao


Anyone can fly to China and climb the Great Wall. Only a lucky few can journey to a remote village and walk hand-in-hand with the precious children who live there. Only a few can laugh and delight in doing the hokey pokey in a tiny village at the base of a mountain surrounded by happy young faces.

This journey opened my heart and my mind. The world IS a global village. There are things that my children and I can do to make the world a better place. Life isn’t just about work, soccer, basketball, the gym, or the newest restaurants in town. Life is about human connections…giving to the greater good.

My children and I will be putting together a special care package for the 120 children who attend Changiao Village School. We will share my pictures of the adults and children in the village, books for their library, and other supplies for their education. I want my children to share, and to understand the importance of reaching out. We will also write letters to my new friend from the Experimental High School, Roger. I am more passionate than ever about the power of ePals. Our children must learn to connect. They must learn to understand other lands, and share with other cultures. They need our help to open their young hearts and minds.

My family will begin regularly giving back in our own community. I plan to contact a local food kitchen, and offer our services in serving meals to those less fortunate. I don’t want the power of my experience to end with the culmination of my trip.

People-to-People did an incredible job of creating a memorable trip to China for the members of my delegation. We started in Beijing where we saw the Great Wall and the Olympic Village. Then we traveled deep into the country, visiting Guiyang and its schools. Just when I thought I’d experienced “real China,” we journeyed to the village of Changiao and laughed with children from the simplest of homes. To culminate, we ventured to a place that time forgot – Tunpu Fortress – where we saw families who had preserved their way of life since the 16th century.

I feel very blessed….for my children…for the privilege with which I work, live, and play…and for the many memories from my journey to understand a world so far away and yet so close.

Xia xia


Thank you

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Tags: stubbs

Comment by Jonathan Henderson on December 20, 2008 at 12:27pm
It sounds like you had an excellent experience. I had the privilege to visit China for most of the summer in 2007 on a Fulbright Hays seminar. We went to Guiyang as well and visited schools. I think my favorite experience was not so much the big cities (although they were wonderful) but the small school for peasant children. After seeing what they have to work with, the conditions of their school (they even worked after classes to grow their food for the school meals) and how happy they were to be getting an education, I said I would never complain about things at my school again. It was a humbling experience.

My students are currently trying to put together a humanitarian project to help schools in Cameroon, but I am very interested in your service projects. Please let us know how they go. Thanks for the wonderful post.

Jonathan Henderson
Atlanta, Georgia
Comment by Brian on December 22, 2008 at 3:22pm
Reading your post reminded me of my five summers in China--in fact, when we'd return, the locals would say, "Welcome home!" I found it to be some of my most content times in life, in spite of the hardships.
Comment by Dr. Kari Stubbs on December 23, 2008 at 7:56am
Jonathan, "humbling" is the perfect word to wrap up my feelings about the village experience. Like you, I was most touched by seeing the living AND learning conditions of the adults and children living in this remote area. China is complex and multidimensional. The experience in the "big city" was much different than in Guiyang and Changaio. I'd like to hear more about your project for Cameroon, too!
Comment by Dr. Kari Stubbs on December 23, 2008 at 7:57am
Brian, thank you so much for sharing. I'd love to hear more about your five summers in China! There's so much to learn!
Comment by Beth Evans on December 27, 2008 at 12:49am
Hi! I loved reading about your trip.

I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sichuan Province from 1998-2000. It was the most amazing time of my life. I really got a sense of how culture shapes language and language in turn shapes culture. It also gave me a new appreciation for the U.S. educational system and why we tend to rank last in all of the comparative tests. The U.S. is one of the few countries that demands education for all.

And education was the saddest thing I encountered during my stay in China--how many girls are overlooked so the one boy in a family could go to school and bring in money for the family, the harsh reality of the glass ceiling and paternalistic societal structure, and the inevitability of no second chances...

I hope your service learning projects go well. And I'd also like to suggest that you pair up with volunteers who are there now. Your generosity could make a big difference in a long-term program.
Comment by Dr. Kari Stubbs on December 27, 2008 at 10:39am
Beth, how exciting and interesting that you were able to spend such an extended time in China! Yes, the education system was much different in China. Because of the entrance exam testing structure in place, we saw only the students who tested well enough to enter the schools we visited... not all children learning side-by-side like we see in the US. It was very instructor driven, with some student interaction at the primary school level.


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