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Detailed Itinerary



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tn_Children's Palace , Guild Hall and Downtown 140
JE 2008

China time and date:






8 Days - a Week!

Good morning everybody.

group 4-16

The weather we are having here in southern Vermont is fantastic, to say the least! Sunny, 60s and 70s. Pretty special after 5 long months of winter! Believe it or not, the weather in Hohhot right now is very similar! Check it out.

Okay, so we had an incredible day yesterday with a ton of photos. Well, hang onto your hats, my friends, we are going to crank it up another notch today with a record number of photos. We’ve got it all: reports, photos, sounds . . . we might even toss in the kitchen sink!

Here’s Tom with a preview:

    Very busy day yesterday. We visited a Mongolian Primary School, a Mongolian Kindergarten and then the Mongolian Nationalities College where we performed. There were also performances by the Mongolian kids at the first two schools. Colorful, exuberance! Our kids are having a great time. [Tom]

Now, get ready to do a lot of “oohing” and aahing.” You just can’t help it when you see the children of China and inner Mongolia. Every journey we ask the kids what were the highlights of the journey. They say every time, “spending time with the children.”

We have some sounds to accompany the photos today. Here’s Mike to explain the sound file as it relates to the first batch of photos below:

    The music class recording is from an elementary school. Some of our students sat in on a class where the kids were learning to sing (and dance along with) a Korean folk song. It was pretty cool. [Mike]








Altogether Now






Very cool indeed, Mike. Next, is something rather unique. Here is Mike to explain:

    The Little Mongol Dance was one of the most hilarious things I have ever witnessed. We were at a kindergarten and the students were dancing for us. During this piece six students danced to a Hip Hop tune dressed in bright blue afros, baggy golden pants, heavy eye shadow, and outrageous hats. I think you can hear the shrieks of laughter and joy from our students. We just couldn't get enough of these little kids! [Mike]

Play the music and check out these photos. Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face!













And here are the rest of the photos from the time spent at the elementary and kindergarten schools:



Colorful Youth


















Aaaah. Ooooh. Aren’t they wonderful?

After a busy morning visiting the children at the schools, the group performed at the Inner Mongolia Nationality College.










group 4-16b










Another amazing performance by our kids. Each time on the stage the performance gets tighter and tighter. We will have the opportunity to see this performance when the JE gang returns to Vermont (in just 8 days!).

After their return home, the group will spend about three weeks sharing their experience with, and performing for, schools throughout the state of Vermont. Thousands of students and adults will have the opportunity to see and hear what these kids have learned and experienced during their journey through China. A schedule of these performances will be posted on the LGUHS JE web page.

Okay, so now that you have seen he photos and listened to the sounds, let’s hear from our third chaperone, Carol Bailey, on what took place during this amazing day. Carol, you’re up!

Carol Bailey (Chaperone and parent), Hohhot, Inner Mongolia 4/15/08

At a loss for how to even begin explaining what kind of day we had, I asked the students what one word they would use to sum up our day. Their answers ran the gamut from "adorable," "amazing," "eventful," and "invigorating" to "rollercoaster," "tiring," and "exhausting." I could add another dozen adjectives or superlatives and still not scratch the surface of our day's experiences.

After being spoiled yesterday by being allowed to sleep in until 8:30, we started our day with a 6:30 a.m. wake-up call in order to depart the hotel at 7:30. Knowing we wouldn't be returning until evening, we took everything we might possibly need for the day This included gifts to exchange with other students, all of the equipment for a performance, and in my case, a clean shirt, as I am still unable to get everything directly into my mouth from my chopsticks!

Our first stop was at the National Primary School, a school of approximately 2000 students, who prided themselves on the number of foreign students that attended. Just a 10 minute bus ride away, we were greeted by adorable, costumed 10 - 12 years olds lining the entryway and applauding our arrival. Even after entering the school, pairs of students greeted us, in traditional dress, at each turn of the corridor. After a welcome of speeches, gift exchange and Mongolian snacks (yuck), we were divided into smaller groups for visits to classrooms. 

While others headed off to P.E., art, or music classes, I went on my way to an English class. Fifty-four students sat, facing forward, textbooks on their desks, and watched our entrance with wide-eyes. It all began with the teacher saying "Good morning, class" and immediately, 54 chairs scraped backwards as the class scrambled to their feet, reciting in unison, "Good morning teacher". Only after a "please sit", followed by a loud chorus of "thank-you", did the day's lesson begin. The students must have been working on numbers for some time, and were being introduced to those 15 - 20 Pictures, counting, repetition, games, and songs were all tools the teacher used. What really struck me, though, was the level of enthusiasm shown by all of the students. They couldn't keep their seats as they strained to raise their hand the highest, many blurting out the answer without waiting to be called on, while others implored "let me try, let me try". Their attention and involvement never wavered for the 30 minutes we observed the class. 

Our second stop was a Mongolian Kindergarten, attended by just over 1200 students up to age 6. Again, our path was lined by traditionally dressed, smiling, singing, waving children. You couldn't help but grin the entire time we were there, the little ones were beyond cute! After an art class of sorts, where we all helped draw a ger (yurt), we were treated to some entertainment by the kindergartners and their teachers. Everyone was in stitches during what could only be described as a hip-hop number. Five-year-olds in glittery outfits, do-rags, and bright pink or turquoise wigs was a sight to behold!

We had interactions with students and teachers at each school, but spent the most time talking, sharing, and comparing with the people we met at the Inner Mongolia College of Minorities. After performing for each other in a once again packed auditorium, our students paired off with a student from the college and there wasn't a silent second for the next 45 minutes, as questions were fired off in both directions. It was hard to pull away when it was time to move on, and even then the sharing doesn't stop, with our students now comparing among themselves all of the information they just received.

It has been three whirlwind weeks where I've felt my head is on a swivel, trying to take in everything. Jotting down notes so I'll remember all of the different things I've seen. I was so focused on those differences, that it wasn't until today that I began to notice as many similarities The kindergarten teacher kneeling in the front of the classroom with her index fingers pushing up the corners of her mouth is no different than one of us chaperones sitting in the front seat of the auditorium and grinning idiotically at our performing students. From wanting the best for your child to more global concerns, I now hear more common threads throughout our conversations. I think I'll be looking at all of our activities and interactions here in a new light.

Throughout this incredible journey, we obviously focus on the students and their activities. However, if not for the chaperones, the students (and program leaders) would not be able to take care of the things they need to do. The chaperones are constantly on task working hard to be guides, guards, mentors, mothers (fathers), companions, workers, assistants, and just about anything else anyone asks of them. They are truly the unsung, unseen heroes of the trip. Journey East has had great chaperones with Pat Burleson and Jenny Connor in ‘02; Jean McIntire, Carolyn Scully, and Janet Lucier in ‘04; Elyn Bischof and Mimi Wright in ‘05; and Andi Anderson, Susan Daigneault, and Louise McDevitt in ‘07.

This year’s dedicated team of chaperones is no exception with Kurt Tietz, Vera Gervais, and Carol Bailey taking on those roles. It’s not an easy thing to take a month away from family to give themselves to this program. We take great pride and comfort knowing our kids are being cared for by these wonderful people. It’s because of them, we can relax and enjoy the journey. So, could we take a moment and have a rousing round of applause for these three people? Come on, let’s hear it! Yeah, that’s more like it! Nice, that was nice. Thank you Kurt, Vera, and Carol!!

In her report (above), Carol talks about the time spent interacting with the college students. here are some photos of these exchanges:



Tell Me More!






So now it is off to another full day of activities as the group will visit Mengniu, the largest dairy operation in North China and then a Middle School in Helin County. They’ll finish the day with an afternoon performance for the Middle School

By the way, this is the Chinese year of the Rat. If you were born in 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, or 2005, you are of the year of the rat. Learn more about the Chinese (new) year.

That’s it for today, folks (as if that wasn’t enough!). As we said at the top of the show, this day had everything. A full house, so to speak. And a house wouldn’t be complete without a kitchen sink, so, to make the day everything we said it would be, we need to add just one more thing . . .

kitchen sink small

See you tomorrow!

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