Mother Teresa once said that ¡§Faith in action is love. Love in action is service.¡¨ Off to Lian¡¦nan went the students and teachers of Ngan Po Ling College to put their love in action. After stretching themselves in the final examination, they set off to visit families in a village in Lian¡¦nan in early July 2008.* This year is the fifth year our school has held the Project Hope aiming to show students¡¦ care and love in action to the less advantaged students and villagers in our Mainland China.
¡§Wow!¡¨? From the hills surrounding Lian¡¦nan, our students were amazed by the Chinese painting-like village scenery. Within this scenery, our students then found simple lives and smiling faces of the villagers.
Maize, boiled chili leaves and chili leaves soup were all the dishes the villagers prepared for our students and teachers. No meat!? We came to experience their lives of simplicity. Surprisingly, we all found the young kids leading lives with joy. We chatted in Cantonese and Putonghua to make ourselves understood. We played board games together, we shared our books, we read stories to them and we gave them our gifts and stationery. Children from other huts came to make friends with us. Mothers of different families went to help one another in preparing their meals for us.
Moments were particularly precious as they were weaved with relationships of true hearts, humility and most of the time, laughter. Even the rooster with shiny, turquoise feathers on his tail, who was poking around outside the worn hut where we spent nearly a whole day, looked like he wanted to make friends!
¡§Ouch!¡¨ One of our students hurt her hand while picking weeds from the farm we worked in. ¡§Oops!¡¨ Another student fell on a ditch next to the farm when trying to plough. ¡§Splash!¡¨ Young kids jumped into a pool of the stream feeding the whole village. On that day, the sun was grinning, and so were the naked boys in the pool. We all envied them.
Who¡¦s more generous? Our students? The hospitable families that welcomed us? The mothers who showed us how to work in farms? The children who lovingly held our students¡¦ hands in theirs? The Sun?
Having been there, we found Nury Vittachi¡¦s definition of Hong Kong society especially inspiring: ¡§People spending money they haven¡¦t earned to buy things they don¡¦t need to impress people they don¡¦t like.¡¨
*Lian¡¦nan, a region of karst landscape with poor soil for farming. It took us around 12 hours to drive from Shenzhen to get there.