WUZHOU—Greetings from China!
Our team arrived safely in Wuzhou after spending an evening in Hong Kong adjusting to the time zone change and getting prepared to travel the next day. After two days of travelling by plane, taxi, van, and train, we were eager to meet local seniors and senior home leadership.
The first morning we participated with and observed volunteers helping at a senior home we visited last time. Many connections were made during the colourful festival, and thank you for your support as CGR was able to provide lunch for everyone with blankets, nail clippers, and back scratchers for the seniors. Bob was, “Encouraged by the active participation of the young people in the community who were willing to serve the seniors with such enthusiasm.” A local volunteer also provided many pictures of dancing, songs, and presentations that you can view here: Link 1 Link 2
Sunny shares, “I was moved by the passionate volunteers—especially the seasoned ones, and how they have been involved for quite a number of years and still have the endurance of doing it. I am challenged when I look in the mirror, and think about where we’ll be down the road. You can see that it’s hard and over time you can become numb. If you still have a heart after 15 years you have something. It is truly something to see ordinary people helping ordinary people. Even locally in China, some people give 8¥ ($1.50 Canadian) online to help.”
Virginia was eager to sing songs, and accompanied by Dan she reflects: “I am very happy to be here, and everyone is happy that we are here. There are very interesting young people who want to know how volunteering works in Canada too.” Altogether from the different groups, about 80 volunteers were present for the festival, which was on the same weekend as China Labour Holiday.
Over the next few days we visited an out of town senior home and four more local facilities, ranging between hosting 8-100 residents. It has been an honour meeting the seniors as well, and hearing some of their stories. Many are locals who have grown up here in Wuzhou, such as a rice planter who now has back problems, or a grandfather whose children have moved out of the province. We celebrated the latter’s birthday with him, and he was overcome with tears of joy as he cut the cake with new friends.
We have taken the time to start the difficult process of assessing which senior homes we would like to partner with, which requires wisdom and patience as we continue to build relationship with the senior home principals. As Abraham Shepherd, CGR President shared with us, “Instead of approaching them with your ideas, have locals identify what is most needed and how a solution can come about.” With this in mind, a sustainable partnership will have the locals senior homes and volunteers take ownership.
Thank you for your love and support! We will update you again very soon.
China Seniors Project Team,
-Bob, Sunny, Virginia, Dan