By: Ally Bancroft
Teamwork and rapport were the theme of the day for our second day in Nanchang, China. About to embark on an amazing journey to help build sustainability with the staff and the Huicong School, we were very unsure on many things. How will we communicate with the teachers who do not speak the same language as us? How will we build rapport and pair with them? How do you collaborate with people that you have never met before? Well Miss Zhang, the owner of the school, has had fun filled day planned for us to help overcome some of these challenges. With an early start to the day, we headed over to the center and were warmly greeted by many of the teachers. Immediately, we were welcome with such gratitude and kindness. Unsure of what to expect, we loaded onto a bus and headed for the country side. A few of the teachers spoke English, but we also had three amazing translators with us to help with that language barrier. During the bus ride, to our surprise, a impromptu karaoke session broke out. Many of the teachers from the center took turns singing songs. The SkillCorp team even took a turn and sung a song together. After almost two hours we arrived at a Lotus Field. The Lotus Field was located in one the teachers home villages. We learned that the Lotus Flower has many uses such as being used for many different medicines and food. We also learned the the Lotus Flower has been given a spiritual meaning because such a beautiful flower grows from muddy, dirty water, showing that something beautiful may come from an unfavorable environment. We unload of the bus, and boy was it hot! This didn’t stop us from setting out to the Lotus Fields as one large group. About a quarter of the way into our walk, some of the teachers from the centers veered off the road into the Lotus bushes. Confused at first we soon realized that they were picking Lotus leaves for us to wear as hats to help protect against the sun! They brought them over to us and we all wore the leaves on our heads (we looked so silly but it was fun and functional)! Once we got further into the Lotus field we took some time exploring and then took a lot of group photos. We then headed off to a restaurant for lunch, but after lunch is when the real fun began! After lunch we headed back to the Lotus field for some team building games. We played five different games and all came together regardless of not knowing each other or speaking the same language. We found other ways to communicate through body language and teamwork. We shared many laughs and created memories right from the beginning. We intermixed our teams to allow us to team up with different center staff and members of SkillCorps. Being able to pair so well with the staff was so beneficial and set a good tone for the rest of our time there. We were able to create friendship and a sense of collaboration. Many of our fears were quickly washed away by this awesome day and we were excited to head into the center to work with the staff the following day!