Sweaty but Joyful – By: Esther Leung
As the team manager I was very blessed by our 24 team members from Toronto and Vancouver; they displayed maturity and perseverance throughout the trip.
I am very thankful that 11 alumni came back to serve again as they were very helpful in leadership and encouraging the new team members.
Also special thanks to CRRS Hong Kong staff Ying Wai for joining us!
Why is it that we go back to Project Shine every year? It’s not like we look forward to the intense heat & sweat, diarrhea, squat toilets, mosquito bites, bed bugs…etc.
Joy is the answer! There is joy in building relationships with the students we teach, there is joy in stepping out of our own comfort zone and doing something selflessly for someone else and there is joy in encouraging our team members as we face various challenges throughout the trip whether they are physical or emotional.
Joy is not a mere shallow feeling of “happiness”, real joy perseveres through suffering and difficulties. We see this kind of “joy” in our students, even though they may have challenging life circumstances such as poverty or family problems. Many of them exude joy in the midst of suffering. This is indeed a great strength that we as privileged Canadians can learn from!
Vernice Tse: Project Shine was a really great experience for me. This was the first time I had been in a city where people weren’t as well off. As I taught the students I discovered that they were learning with a lot of enthusiasm. They didn’t need much to be able to be happy and to learn. This made me wonder if we really needed so much stuff back in Canada to be able to get on with our lives. My students were always trying hard to learn English and even teaching them was just a very memorable experience. I will never forget my students and the times we spent together.
Brian Fong: I learned many things by going on Project Shine. I learned what it was truly like to show care for others. The people there showed me what it was like to give to strangers, despite being very poor. Their generosity really made an impact on me and changed my insights on the world.
Michelle Ko: This is my second time going on Project Shine, I learned so much about what it means to have respect and love for the people around me. The students showed me genuine love and gratitude just by being their friend and teaching them English. I’ve never seen students so excited to come to school and learn before. Feeding off of their energy inspired me to teach in more exciting and creative ways. These students inspire me to work harder and love people more every day.
Caleb Tse: I would describe my experience during Project Shine as incredibly rewarding. My favorite memory is the final evening as our class went for a barbeque by the river side with another class. I said good bye to every one of my students that night and gave them a quick hug, which they returned whole heartedly, some laughing, some crying, and some quiet, not quite able to meet our eyes. Needless to say it was a very powerful, spirit filled moment. I will always remember my time at Project Shine in Rongshui not because I feel like I have done something great, but because I have been given something great by my students. Keep smiling, keep shining always.
Vivian Tsang: All aspects of my Project Shine experience were breathtakingly beautiful. Despite these students’ seemingly unfortunate circumstances, they are the epitome of joy; a joy that prevails even in the midst of socioeconomic struggles, family issues, and the pressures of school. These students in the most genuine of ways taught us lessons that can’t be learned in school – what it means to find fulfillment in the simple things, how to care deeply for those around us, and to remember to reflect on how blessed our lives truly are.
Secilia & Angel Mak: I’ve learned a lot about myself and the Chinese students during the short two weeks of Project Shine. I’ve realized that I enjoy helping others as it makes me feel happy because that I helped others who are less fortunate as I am and that they would always remember me – not as a teacher but as their friend. What I learned about the Chinese students are that they are really appreciative of everything they have. And they know that we, the teachers, and CRRS, put a lot of effort and time to come for the two weeks. They are extremely thankful for things they have no matter how small it seems. The two weeks has been amazing as I learned and experienced.
Shirley & Tina Ye ( 媽和女兒,中間 ) 兩年 前當我聽說陽光計劃的時候就很想參加,可 是總是放不下我的工作。每天我總是忙於工 作,我發現我越來越不快樂,即使我的生意 很好,帶來的也只是短暫的開心。今年我終 於決定和女兒一起來到「陽光計劃」。雖然只 有短短的 2 個星期,卻讓我學到怎麼和女兒 合作教學,讓我看純樸的孩子干淨明亮的心, 讓我明白:生活可以很簡單並很快樂 ! 陽光 計劃──觸動我的心,讓我重新認識不一樣 的人生!
愛與笑容 – 吳迪軒（陽光計劃項目助理）
超越一萬公里,跨出固有生活模式,每天 汗流浹背,為的是讓中國農村的小朋友,在 兩星期裡面學好一點點英語。我看見「愛」, 由此而生。
今年才成為陽光計劃項目助理,也是我第 一次去到融水這個地方。雖然我並不是老師 之一,但我每天都會到不同的班房看看有什 麼可以幫忙以及拍攝花絮。在鏡頭內外,我 看見的都是笑容和愛。當學生們遇到不明白 的時候,他們會竊竊私語,問其他同學有誰 明白,以笑遮醜,然後戰戰兢兢的回答老師; 老師們遇到這情況時,亦會笑臉相迎,很有 耐性地等候他們解答問題,再送上鼓勵。還
有我發現音樂真的是無國界語言,平常就算 學生們有多害怕或者是能力有限而不願意多 說英語,但是每當老師們教他們唱英文歌曲 的時候,學生們總是開開心心,大聲的唱。
縱然只是兩星期,能夠帶著笑和愛,有交 流有感通,我們跟學生們的關係和感情是會 延續的。很喜歡一位學生給我的道別卡上所 寫的一段說話:「當你覺得很累很迷惘的時 候,抬頭望一下我們同一的天空,你會發現 我們的距離其實很近。天上的星星對你微笑 時,也就是我對你的鼓勵。」但願我們每一位 老師和學生的感情能延續下去,愛與笑容會 陪著他們成長。
Love and Laughter – Deakin Ng (Project Shine Assistant)
We were breaking out of accustomed habits and our comfort zones, sweating like pigs and flying thousands of kilometres away. All of this was to allow some kids in a Chinese village to learn English. It was through this process that we got to observe how “love” is born.
I became the Project Shine assistant this year and this was my first time to visit in Rongshui. Before departing I was a little nervous, but I still pushed forward with a brave spirit, because I knew that over a hundred local students were eagerly awaiting our arrival. Even though I was not an official English teacher during Project Shine, I was able to observe all the different classes, help them out with activities and film footage for our video. In each frame, I saw smiles and love. Each time the students came across something they didn’t understand, they would whisper amongst themselves, use laughter to cover up embarrassment and then drum up the courage to answer the teacher. When the teachers ran into similar situations, they still retained a smile on their face and patiently awaited the students to answer the question and giving encouragement while doing so. I also discovered that music truly knows no boundaries. No matter how low their English proficiency or how shy their personalities, each and every student sang with gusto whenever the teachers taught them English songs, singing their hearts out with joy. One time I was assisting a class by helping to teach a section of a song. The smiles and positive attitudes of the students were very stirring to behold. They were able to move from singing really softly to singing with confidence and with full voice for their performance. This really was very moving to me deep inside my soul.
Even though it was only two weeks, we were able to bring smiles and love, and connect with the students. Our relationships with the students will last. I really enjoyed a farewell card I received from a student that said: “When you are really tired or busy, you can look up at the sky and discover that the distance between us is actually really close. When the stars in the sky smile at you, it is also my encouragement to you.” However, I hope that the relationships between each of our students and teachers can continue so that their growth can be accompanied by love and the power of a smile.