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Publicized Volunteering

Did we just get used? January 31, 2010

sunny -20 °C

Last Saturday was the first time I had ever been on T.V.


Zach, Nancy, and I volunteered at a senior center. Once we entered the building, we were ushered to the side and given orange polo shirts to be easily identified as part of the volunteer group. There was a lot of commotion around us because a journalist came and interviewed us. We were filmed as we greeted seniors and as we made dumplings with our fellow volunteers.

Zach was a super star because he turned flattened balls of dough into thin discs. Nancy struggled because she had never made dumplings before. I filled each disc with the 酸菜,sour cabbage and then I folded the dough and pinched the sides together. I made ugly dumplings, but they didn’t fall apart. After we had finished making our dumplings, we were pulled to the side to be asked about previous volunteering experience and our current volunteering experience in China.

Next, we washed our hands and cleaned the hallway and a bedroom. Zach swept the floor before Nancy and I mopped it. Several elders came out of their bedrooms to watch us sing, dance for them. We three sang our Harbin No. 1 school song. We should learn more American and Chinese songs. We played Latin and Cha-cha music. I’m not a very good dancer, but I am pretty good with moving my hips. Overall, the entire day was a great experience.

Lately, I have wanted to dance badly. The night before, I was twirling my sister in the hallway before we watched T.V. Gina and I watched Chinese Paladin 3 Template, 仙剑奇侠传 3…until the series finished a few days ago. The popular and handsome Chinese actor Hu Ge is defeating this magician who had killed his mother-in-law by using magic and sword-fighting skills. Last summer, I watched an older series called Fairy from Wonderland,天外飞仙. I recommend watching Fairy from Wonderland because it teaches some great life lessons and it is comedic. MySoju offers it with English subtitles so you can check out one of my favorite Chinese TV dramas. Click here to watch.

Speaking of television, we showed up three nights ago on哈尔滨都市零距离6:00 and 9:00 news. Finally, I watched myself get on the news! Gina interjects and says that she’s been on TV at least two times. That bums me a little but don’t worry, I will get on TV some other time in my life.


Even though we were there to brighten up the elder’s day, we were beneficial to many other people, such as this organization. The volunteers use us to practice their English and specifically, their translation skills. What irks me is that I don’t need volunteers to help 90% of the time because I can understand main ideas fairly well. As they continue to translate, I nod and respond in Chinese so that I can get my practice. I understand that it’s important for people to seize their opportunities, but I think they are seizing it with the wrong person. I will encourage them to speak to Nancy, Zach, and Matt more. I am upset, but I’m not sure why…maybe it’s because with people wanting to translate all the time around me, I feel caged. I am seeking independence, a chance to test my Chinese skills in all environments.

We Americans are their treasure pieces to their organization because we can provide a new perspective on volunteer activities and help them receive publicity. For example, today our volunteer work made it to the Harbin Daily. Publicized volunteering is better for the majority of the people. I can smile at the fact that I got on television, but I frown at the fact that I am being used.

Posted by myscope 02:53 Archived in China Tagged events

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