Stepping out of the metro into the modern metropolis that is Shanghai was a bit of a culture shock having been where we were. We started our trip in the mountains, where many of the sights we saw resembled something out of National Geographic. We had ventured to a secluded pocket of the world where people had seldom seen Westerners. They would stare in awe as we drove by, and let me tell you, our multicultural group was a sight to be seen in Butuo.
Moving back down to the city, I noticed a change in the girls we were working with. They were more adapt to modern day living and the outside world. They were more confident and self aware. The changes were there, however, I was still fascinated by their overwhelming kindness and eagerness to help whenever possible.
From the mountains to the city, the Yi, in my mind, defined down to earth. They were kind and grateful, and happy with what they had; even when that wasn’t a lot. They live a simple life and worship the elements; fire and water. I learned a lot during our time with them.
First and foremost, I learned to be grateful for everything in my life, for my loving family and friends, for my education, for my possessions and for my rights. I think we often forget that we live in the upper percentage and that there are millions of people around the world living below the poverty line.
I learned to be happy with what I have and that I may not need as much as I once thought. There will always be someone happy with less than I have.
I learned not to sweat the little things. Some things really just don’t matter in the grand scheme of life.
I learned that kindness really does go a long way. Even with language barriers, friendships were quickly and easily formed.
I learned to always stay positive. With hard work and determination you really can do anything. How far these girls, and other Fu Hui students we had the chance to meet, have come is an inspiration.
I am confident this GCELE team will continue to work with Fu Hui in any way they can. The girls we had the pleasure of working with may be out of sight, but will not soon be out of mind.