April 22




A Beautiful Journey
(JE Performance Program)

Created at Leland & Gray High School in Townshend, Vermont, supported by the ~Asian Studies Outreach Program (ASOP) at the University of Vermont (UVM), and funded primarily through a grant from the Freeman Foundation,

Journey East, as a whole, consists of the Asian Studies Academy and Sino-American Performing Arts Exchange at Leland and Gray Union High School; the integration of an Asian Studies curriculum throughout the Windham Central Supervisory Union, and the introduction of Chinese language programs into the district.

~Dr. Juefei Wang, Director of the Asian Studies Outreach Program University of Vermont, is a recipient of the prestigious Goldman Sachs Award for Excellence in International education, on behalf of the UVM, Asian Studies Outreach Program.

The Leland and Gray Journey East program is deeply indebted, and extends its heartfelt thanks, to Dr. Juefei Wang, without whose effort and support this program would not even be possible!

Thank you Juefei!

Leland & Gray
Journey East 2007

Tom Connor
Program Director

Ann Landenberger
Artistic Director

Matt Martyn
Music Director


Come see these magnificent performers on Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 pm. They will perform at Leland & Gray High School in Townshend, Vermont.

Click here to find out more about this amazing and fun evening!


Where Are They?




Winding Down

Hi everybody,

handsWell, we are getting down to the final days here in China. As you read about today’s events, the group should be sleeping after a very emotional farewell banquet. A joyous, yet very sad occasion, as they must say goodbye to their dear Mongolian friends. A time to reflect, to say thank-yous and to say the inevitable goodbyes. We’ll have photos and commentary about that event tomorrow.

Be sure to go back to yesterday’s page to read a report from Karlie Kauffeld. You can go now, we’ll wait for you . . .

As we have watched this group go from a bunch of kids, to a group of fine young people, I believe we can all agree that the Journey east 2007 group has indeed “made it!”

We now have photos of the group’s trip to the Sino-American Friendship Forest. This is a place where trees are planted and cared for by the JE group. Here’s Tom to explain a little more:

    [We] went to the Sino-American Friendship Forest with President Li Yu Lin and Chinese/Mongolian students yesterday. We did some maintenance work on trees that we helped plant in 2005; weeding, watering, etc. [Tom]

Let’s hear from nate as he tells us more about the day in the forest:

APRIL 21, 2007 -- Nate Whitman, Junior

Today we went to the Inner Mongolia Youth Ecological Garden. We took a bus to the base of some beautiful mountains where one can see ski area advertisements carved or painted on to the mountains’ faces. Out of a huge stretch of land, spanning for miles, the ecological area was the only one with any trees. Planted by [volunteers in recent years], they created a seemingly out-of-place miniature forest.

Most of us thought we were actually going to plant trees until our trusty informant, Hujia, let us know that we were just going to be tending to some older trees planted by the Journey East 2005 group.

When we got there, we found plenty of shovels and water jugs waiting for us. Our job was to water and free the trees of any grass and weeds around their bases. It was the nearest thing to physical labor that any of us had experienced in at least a month or so. Although a little on the easy side, the effort we all put in was rewarding.

The environment is something I feel fairly strongly about, so helping China improve its environment even in the most micro way gave me a sense of fulfillment.

Soon after we finished, we spotted a forest fire along the horizon of one of the smaller peaks [roughly three miles away]. The fire reminded me that nature can undo peoples’ work quickly, if the work is not properly cared for. I also think that many lives of people could be lost quickly if enough care is not taken to better the world we are destroying.

-- Nate

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A Walk in the Park

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    There are also some shots [Above] of Banmudi, the restaurant out in the countryside that we had lunch at. The red sign with the characters says that "all members of this house are party members." We were strictly observers. [Tom]

During the journey, each of the members of the group will accumulate mementos, souvenirs, gifts for family and friends, clothes, and items received from their Chinese and Mongolian friends. Each trip, someone finds an item that is rather unique. Here Andi ponders how she might be able to get this item in her luggage!




Seriously, Andi won’t be bringing that machine back home. I don’t think. Hmmm.

drivingTake a good look at this photo. Do you see anything odd? Yeah . . . that’s right, the group’s bus is driving in the same lane as the approaching truck. Okay, so this may look similar to Route 30 on a Friday night during ski season, but this is common driving practice in Mongolia! Let’s take a moment here as Tom explains the unusual “Rules of the Road” in Mongolia:

    The driving rules here are unique, to say the least. Basically, if there is an opening, anywhere, you drive to it. Center lines, shoulders, curbs, sidewalks, are all part of the "roadway." Passing on curves? No problem. If you encounter someone smaller, you know he/she will pull over. If you encounter a larger vehicle, you just ease off and back into what is sometimes your lane. Pedestrians, bikes, mules, dogs, cats, sheep, goats, wagons, and mules are on their own; low on the totem pole. Semi-miraculously, we see very few accidents. The key to survival is knowing where you are and where everyone else is in relation to you, all of the time. That holds for walking across a busy street, having dinner at a table with 10 other people and just about every other activity one might be involved in that involves other people. [Tom]

So it’s basically like being the one with the ball in a game of “get the one who has it!” Quick, toss the ball!

tn_Sino-American Tree Planting plus Banmudi 129Here’s a photo of some guys who are either workers at the restaurant or a singing group on a break between shows.

And we leave you today with some photos of children and young people. As we have mentioned so many times, it is the people who make this journey what it is. Our people, and the Mongolian people, working, playing, and living together.

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That’s it for today.

T-minus 3 days and counting. Just three days to go everybody. You’ve all done so well. It wasn’t too long ago when you thought this journey would never end. You were probably having the same thoughts about winter -- and look outside!

The stay in Hohhot is the “heart” of this journey. It is where many lifetime friendships are created. And those relationships that already existed, from the Mongolians visiting Vermont last year and before, have become even stronger.

For our journey to Mongolia, Hohhot has been, and continues to be such a gracious host. Many of them have traveled to the U.S. and were our guests. Now, after several exchanges between the two, Hohhot is our “home away from home.” And our Hohhot friends have become family. We can never thank them enough for all they continue to do for our kids, our group leaders and chaperones, to say nothing of the overall success of the Journey East program.

We will say, as we do each year, collectively and from our hearts:

Thank you, Hohhot!

Simply said, Hohhot is a beautiful journey!

It’s really hard to believe, but today is the last day in Hohhot for the gang. When they first arrived, and we looked at the two weeks on the calendar, it seemed like this day would never arrive. Much like we though Spring would never get here.

Tomorrow, as the group spends time exploring Beijing for the last time, we’ll be enjoying photos and stories of the farewell banquet. Grab a box of tissues, ‘cause you’re gonna need them.

So step away from the computer and get outside. Enjoy enjoy the 80-degree day today.

‘Cause Wednesday, your kids and spouses are coming home!

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