On March 21st 2009 most of the Shengda foreign teachers went on a historic trip to see the Yellow River, including my husband Lester Paul, who had broken his foot during the inter-department basketball tournament at Shengda only two days earlier.
For three consecutive years the teachers have enjoyed the hospitality of the 22 Municipal People’s Government, who has invited all foreign teachers to participate in an annual tree planting event at Friendship Forest near Zhengzhou. The yearly event celebrates the growing relationship between the East and the West, and the teachers were all happy to take part. About 80 teachers took a bus to the forest and after the awards and speeches, we all planted at least one tree, and added an entire section to the forest. My husband was among the gathering, happy to be out in the fresh air, even if it meant using his crutches to hobble across a narrow wooden bridge which was an elegant part of the landscaping of the forest. Afterwards we signed our names for engraved plaques to be added to the forest later.
Next, we were treated to a sumptuous lunch, followed by a trip to the Yellow River Museum. The highlight of the trip was the Yellow River itself. It was the first time on a hover craft for most of the teachers, and the ride, though short, did not disappoint. The river is wondrous and mystic. We could easily imagine the epic battles fought on the very same land thousands of years ago.
Our spirits remained high throughout the day. We returned home rejuvenated by the crisp spring air and friendly faces of all whom we met. Our outing rekindled old friendships and sparked new relationships we hope will last a long time to come.
Our last trip before the start of the semester proved all over again that the Chinese are a gracious and generous people. We visited one of Lester’s students Glory. He introduced us to his girlfriend’s mother and father, and their hospitality truly exceeded anything we have experienced.
They cooked us an amazing dinner, which started off with delicious sweet dumplings that are enjoyed during Spring Festival. They then took us to their new apartment, a home they are fixing up to move to. We stayed in the bedroom in their brand new apartment for 2 days.
On the second day we were invited to a birthday party, with tons of delicious food. At dinner time we were welcomed into Glory’s home and met his mother and father who also cooked for us. They all took special care of Alemayehu. Below are some pictures of the dear families.