Our last full day at Beijing no 27 started again with breakfast in the school dining hall. Each day two students welcome and monitor people who enter the school.
The Chinese students are extremely studious. Many were studying or completing homework while we waited for breakfast to be served. Many go home at night time and put in a further 3 to 4 hours or more. This was an eye opener for our students.
One of our student’s breakfast trays
Instead of attending classes in the morning, we walked through the hutongs with Therese, the organising staff member, past one of the gates of the Forbidden City and on to Jingshan Park.
The weather was humid and hot but the pollution was thick. Some of us donned masks.
However, the gardens were cooling. It was fascinating to see the older Chinese citizens practicing tai chi, dancing, playing chess, voice shouting, singing, participating in clapping classes etc. Several older people were using water and brushes to write Chinese characters on the pathways.We climbed to the top of the hill to see the Buddhist temples. A number of students and the adults enjoyed dressing in traditional costumes having their formal pictures taken.
As it was close to 11:00am we returned to the school to have lunch. At the end of lunch, one of the boys brought his hand made drone out into the school yard for students to have a go at flying. This was followed by a calligraphy class. Students were then given a test on their knowledge of Beijing geography, spoken language and chop stick skills.
The principal came in just before the test to bid us a formal farewell and to give our school a special gift – a beautiful handcrafted fan. John and I were taken into her office while students completed their test and again were given individual gifts – tea for John and a beautiful comb for me. On returning to the classroom, each of our students were given a number of gifts and souvenirs of their time in the school. As there are many after school activities, we congregated in the school yard watching students practice marching, fan dances and basketball. It was great to see our students starting to mingle readily with the Chinese students, practicing English, exchanging wechat id’s etc.
As our days came to a close at Beijing no 27, our students finally looked comfortable, mingled readily with the Chinese students, shared wechat id’s etc.