A Gift of Friendship
( to foster people-to-people relations between Arizona and China )
by Elizabeth P
Her eyes and her smile told the story. A gift of friendship was being exchanged -- and something more.
...Ma JiaHung with teacher, principal and Elizabeth
I had traveled from my home in Arizona to Beijing for a walking tour along parts of the ancient Great Wall of China. The leader of our small group was Tony of Toronto, Canada, a seasoned veteran of such walks which he designs for his company China Hiking Adventures Inc.
...dance performance without sound of music
But we were also on another mission: to deliver several hearing aids to the children at the special school for the deaf in Fu Xin County. This was a community of modest size, in the agricultural region of Hebei province, not far from Beijing. The school administrators and teachers welcomed our group of six, as we visited classrooms and enjoyed a charming dance performance by young girls -- who could not hear the music but moved to the " beat " of pulsing lights.
...teacher and her class of silence
The next day, we met again with the school head, a teacher, and the young lady chosen as most able to benefit from our gift. I spoke my few words of Chinese and gave her the hearing aid, brought from Canada by Tony. Her eyes shyly said " Thank you " to the visitors from a continent away. I felt the happiness of sharing that moment with her. Her future would be much different now. With stronger hearing, she could take her place in the busy Chinese culture and economy.
...together with the vistors
Our visit was a chance for people-to-people contact. We admired the gentle and professional demeanor of the teachers, and the sparkly eyes of the children as they showed us how to say "hello" --"ni hao"-- swith hand signs. Giving the hearing aid was a treat for me, as we stood briefly together, American, Canadian, and Chinese, sealing our new friendship with photographs and smiles.
( For those who wants to contact "Elizabeth P", please send email to EWPomeroy@aol.com )
The following is an addition( presented by Tony Pau ) about the school :
This School for Disabled Children was opened in 1998 and is financed by local government of Fu Ning County. This school is a modern facility within a compound of two-story buildings. There are bright modern classrooms, a fully equipped dance studio and an audiology room with headphone-fitted stations does allow many children to learn some verbal speech while at school.
...the center two students received the hearing aids
Today there are fourty children, ages six to fifteen, attend this school, that some are residential but most go home to their families each day. The county government supplies the money to run the school but each family contributes tuition of 80 yuan (US$16) a year.
...saying good-bye to the visitors
Customized hearing devices for such profound hearing loss usually run to many hundreds of dollars, making such options an impossible dream for most rural families.
Audiologist Volunteer Needed
(Donating Hearing Aids to children in China --- click for info)