Tag Archives: Xiaoting

Leaving is For Reunion

By Xiaoting Sun (Bishop’s)

Sunset in Monkey Bay

Sunset in Monkey Bay

People always say leaving is grieved, and yes it is true. On June 25, the day we went to Monkey Bay, it was also the day Emily and Rita left from Malawi. In the morning at 7 o’clock, we drove to airport. Last night Emily and Rita gave leaving card to everyone, and Emily also help me wrap my hair. It was so beautiful, it is my first time to do this kind of hair wrap. I said to Emily, “I will keep it as long as I can.” In about an hour we arrived at the airport and everyone got out of the car and gave them hugs. I saw Megan was crying.  I tried my best to control myself and I did not let tears fall down. I do not like to say goodbye because leaving means taking lots of things away and the only thing that remains is memory. We have stayed together now for around one month, and they have brought a lot of happiness to us; I still remember when we made guacamole. At first, I did not like it, but gradually I kind of liked it.  Sometimes I feel like one month is so long, because it has 30 days and sometimes it feels short as it is just one twelfth of one year. In this last week, I will try to remember everything here, even the petty things. I will try to remember every hospitable villager, every adorable child and the taste of breakfast, lunch and supper. I already am beginning to miss it all even if I am still here. Leaving is always grieved, but remember every time of leaving opens the possibility for reunion!

A Few Days of Travel in Zambia

By Xiaoting Sun (Bishop’s)

Elephant in Zambia

Elephant in Zambia

Today was the third day since we arrived in Zambia. Every day we got up at 5:30. It is early but I do not even feel tired, because I was curious about everything in here where the environment has not been changed a lot by humans. There are all kinds of wild animals, such as: elephants, hippos, giraffes and lot of birds which I did not know the names. They have different colors of feathers such as; blue, shining red, orange, and white. You cannot imagine how beautiful they are. In the afternoon, we did a safari in a big, open car. We saw elephants. I never thought I could see a wild animal like this at such a close distance, just two or three meters from us. At that moment I was so excited and nervous. I was excited because I was finally able to see elephants not at the zoo, nervous because I was worried that the elephants would assault us. Victoria, who is the owner of this camp said if we follow the nature’s rule, those animals will not hurt us. Yes, the rule in Zambia is so important. You know the rule, you can play the game, and otherwise, you definitely lose. When our car was close to the elephants, all of us were quiet quickly, because our voices would scare them. In the afternoon around five, we were sitting on the bank with the moaning of hippos, and a bottle of Savanna. Enjoying the sunset, seeing the color of sky turn orange and red slowly. This moment was the best time in my whole day, also the moment that let me feel so close to nature, like a silent communication with nature, making me feel so peaceful and calm all the way from deep inside.

This afternoon, we watched a show which was performed by local singers and dancers. They displayed graceful rhythm and enthusiastic dancing. Even though, they did not have professional dancing performance clothes and only wore simple decoration, but in following the dancing those simple clothes look so special and unique. One of the songs was about the appeal to humans to protect animals and the forest, not to hurt them or take part in excessive deforestation. That let me realize they were the real protectors of nature.

Unexpectedly, the people of Zambia all have a very strong sense of environmental protection. Victoria said, that in the past few years, the number of elephants is reducing by a ten percentage rate with every year. The reason is that people are hunting and if it doesn’t stop then within ten years the elephant will be extinct, which will also impact other species. The same the situation is happening with the lion as a spectacular number of lions is declining. I thought we could see the king of animals –lion, but we did not. That made me feel a little bit of regret. But maybe this little bit of regret will make this safari become more unforgettable and impressive.

This safari gave me a chance to be close to nature and see the original appearance of nature. I learned a lot from this safari. It also made me think more about who we really are. Animals are our friends and they need protection from people. Stop hunting animals, please! They also have a family, and also need love; this love from each of us. This world not only belongs to people, but it also belongs to those adorable animals.

Hospital Visit

By Xiaoting Sun (Bishop’s)

Makupo village

Makupo village

This morning was a very nice day, sunshine, blue sky and beautiful clouds as always. We walked almost 1 hour to get to downtown Kasungu, to visit the hospital. The hospital was bigger than what I thought it would be, but it was also very simple and crude. This hospital was divided into 4 parts. When we entered the hospital a lot of patients were sitting on the ground. Inside of hospital it was so crowded; people were sitting in chairs and waiting for doctors and medicine. It is free for the people to see a doctor and get medicine. When we went to the sickroom, we even saw two people who shared one bed.

Suddenly I realized how unfair the world really is. In China or Canada, when people get sick at the hospital, they complain that the television is not that big and that the air-conditioning is not cold enough. Compared to them, we are very lucky. We should be thankful and cherish everything that we have.

The nurse explained the function of every part of the hospital. In the pregnancy check room, around 30 women are sitting on the floor waiting for a doctor. I do not like hospitals because I do not like to see people that are sick, especially since I cannot do anything to help them. It makes me feel so helpless. I admire doctors and nurses as they are like angels who help people escape sickness and become healthy. Essentially, they allow these people to live a life that they otherwise, may not have had.

Time Flies

By Xiaoting Sun (Bishop’s)

A few days after arrival

A few days after arrival

Today is the seventh day since we have arrived in Malawi. Time flies. Malawi is really the warm heart of Africa. All the people have been so nice and friendly; they always smile at us. I still remember the first day we arrived in Kasungu village, the people welcomed us with dancing which was so amazing. We have tried our best to learn the local language to show our respect. I like it when it is night time in Kasungu; every night we can see a lot of stars in the sky, and also it is very quiet. It is making me feel better when we get through a whole tiring day.

Every morning the chirp of birds and bark of dogs wake me up. It is a very different experience and I really like it. The weather in Malawi is not as hot as I thought it would be. However, the weather in the morning and evening is a little bit cold, but in the afternoon it is hot. Three days ago, we climbed the Kasungu Mountain. It took almost 3 hours; everybody was tired but no one gave up. I am so proud of us. It was totally worth it when you saw the gorgeous landscape on the top of mountain.

Today we had a big meeting with the senior chief as well as 19 other village chiefs and some villagers. They were all very supportive of our projects. The Praxis Malawi project includes, a chicken co-op, a health clinic, school education, micro-loans and many more. After the meeting, everyone became even more excited about their projects.

Introducing the 2014 Group: Bishop’s University

Emily Parker

Emily Parker

Hello everyone! My name is Emily Parker and I am currently enrolled in the Elementary Education program at Bishop’s University. I just finished my second year in the program. I am someone that cannot stay in one place. I love to travel, meet new people and be active! My favourite sports are rugby and soccer, as well as skiing in the winter time. Some of my other hobbies include: cooking and baking; consequently I love reading as many different kinds of vegetarian, vegan and raw cookbooks as possible; seeing how I am a vegetarian! I have a big family composed of my mother, older brother, step-dad, two step-sisters and one step-brother (I am the youngest). You could say I’m one lucky girl!

My expectations in Malawi are not to have any too specifically, because I hope to take the entire experience day by day and live it to the fullest! However, I look forward to developing the Grade 2 curriculum with the 3 other education girls. We already got the chance to work together a little bit and it went very well; we fed off each other’s ideas wonderfully. That is why I am so eager to continue on this project with them in Malawi. I also look forward to developing my secondary research focus which is to create and incorporate a realistic nutrition component into our curriculum based on their local farming resources. All in all, I want this experience to be all about learning and sharing knowledge not only with the others on the trip, but with the locals of the area. Let’s be honest; I’M EXCITED!

 

Xiaoting Sun

Xiaoting Sun

Hey, everybody. My name is Xiaoting Sun. I am a 23 year old international student of Bishop’s University. I am from south of China—Guilin, which is a very famous tourist site in China. This is my second year in Canada and my major is economics. This summer I also teach some students Chinese. I am kind of an outgoing girl. I love traveling as through travel we can see a lot of things which we cannot imagine, and learn something which we cannot find in the textbook. You will have a fresh look to this world and also the people who is beside you. I like watching movie and after watching I like talking about the plot with my friends. I like dancing, work-out, shopping with friends, and beautiful clothes like all the girls like.

The focus of my research is about understand how a micro-loan project can help the local people change their economic situation and improve their quality of life. Moreover, what kind of financial help they really need. I am just excited and nervous about it as after tomorrow our fantastic adventure will begin!!! Hoping the people and animals like us.

 

Megan Blair

Megan Blair

My name is Megan Blair and I will be going into my second year at Bishop’s University in International Studies. I am someone who is relatively outgoing and I enjoy being around people just as much as I enjoy my alone time. I am a very active person and sports have always been an important part of my life. My favorite sports consist of soccer and snowboarding. I have a passion and a desire to travel. I have not been all over the world but traveling the world is definitely on my to-do list. I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to Haiti four times (on humanitarian trips) since the earthquake in 2010. That is where I discovered my passion for helping others and contributing to something bigger than myself. One of my favourite parts of going to Haiti is meeting the people and getting the chance to talk to them. I really enjoy making a difference in people’s lives and I feel like Praxis Malawi will offer me so much more than a simple Humanitarian trip. People have told me that you can’t go to a country expecting to change the lives of millions of people. But what I have learnt is that to the few people whose lives I may have touched, it matters to them.

Praxis Malawi will help me to grow as a person and as a student. It will be challenging and I expect it will change me in so many ways. I hope to embrace this amazing opportunity to learn from others – those traveling with the group and the people we will meet in Malawi. I am hoping that this opportunity as well as the chance to interact with people from such diversified backgrounds will open my eyes to different programs of study that may be of interest to me. As well, I am hoping to discover a little more about myself. I am hoping this trip will allow me to see my own full potential and what I can accomplish.

 

Clare Radford

Clare Radford

My name is Clare Radford and I am currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies at Bishop’s. I am in the program for Primary/ Elementary. I am from Ottawa Ontario and come from a big family of six. I am the second oldest out of four kids. I have an older sister, a younger brother and a little sister and my mother and father. My family means everything to me. They have been an amazing support system helping me achieve my dreams and I owe them an infinite amount of thanks.

I love meeting new people and being active. I have played hockey for most of my life along with many other sports and activities such as kickboxing, karate, rugby, swimming and water skiing.

My expectations in Malawi are simple. I hope to take every day and make the most of it. I am very excited about becoming as involved as possible in the program that has been planned for those of us on this project. As well, I look forward to being a student of the Malawian people and learning from the land itself. I am sure that this journey will also lead me to learn a great deal about myself as a Canadian and of course as just a person too.  I look forward to developing the Grade 2 curriculum with the other educations students. Recently, we worked together to develop some of our ideas for the Grade Two curriculum. This experience was very productive and positive.  I am also really looking forward in developing my secondary research focus of gaining a better understanding of how the educators of the Malawian schools as well as members of the surrounding communities may use the sports field that will be built on our campus. I am sure that this journey will be a real adventure of learning and I am very grateful that I will have this opportunity to visit Malawi with the Praxis Malawi program.

 

Ryan Moyer

Ryan Moyer

I’m a full-time sociologist (in training), writer and reader as well as a part-time runner, painter, poet, basketball player, music producer and boxer. I enjoy informed conversation. My favorite colour is forest green. I have a spectacularly weird family, a lot of stories that would make my mother faint and a keen eye for adventure. I was creatively named Ryan Moyer by my parents in 1989. “Ryan” was the thirteenth most popular baby name that year and apparently means “little prince” or “young royalty”. Considering neither of these descriptors are viable, I wonder why this name was chosen for me to scribble on my rent cheques?

Juliet begs the question of “What’s in a name?” as her intellect, heart and reason (no doubt fueled by a rush of rebellion and teenage hormones) come into conflict with her families traditonal knowledge and hatred for another family. If you don’t dabble in classic theater, I’m sure many of you may have seen the 1996 version of “Romeo and Juliet” (probably for the sex appeal alone, as it is featuring the equaly beautiful Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes) where Shakespeare’s answer to the question can be summed up with a romantic “not much”. Conversely in “Anne of Green Gables” the protagonist states that a rose wouldn’t smell as nice if it was called “skunk-cabbage” and, continuing their streak of stealing material, “The Simpsons” claimed a rose wouldn’t smell as sweet if it was called a “Stenchblossom”.

Both of these answers hold a certain amount of truth and prove valuable lessons, not the least of which being that great artists steal. Shakespeares answer of course asserts that all things akin are that way regardless of categorization, stratification or, of course, name. The second is that regardless of this likeness, language and social stratification do wield power, but, only if you don’t take the time to stop and smell the roses. Are you curious enough? I’m trying.

Umberto Eco wrote an essay aptly titled “A Rose by Any Other Name” in which he describes the dangers of translating literature from one language to another, most noteably that there can be misconceptions and misrepresentations that occur during this translation. These misrepresentations can occur in the translation of culture as well. Formerly colonized subjects (Malawi gained independance in 1964) are homogonized and, as Franz Fanon writes, “over-determined from without”. With that, I am no longer willing to accept this type of informational artifice, hense this trip to Malawi.

What does the name “Africa” represent in my mind, and more so, what does the categorization of Africa as a “developing” continent mean? Most of my knowledge on Africa, prior to the preparation for this venture and some cursory analysis’ for papers, has been provided through Western film and broadcasting corporations. Moving images of death, guns, disease and, as the 1995 film “Congo” so terribly portrayed, deadly animals. The continent seemed so uncivilized and dangerous, with no explanation as to why it was in such despair and poverty. Why am I repeatedly being told such a superficial story?

So, to conclude, I depart in order to tell my own.