La Salle Study Centre Changjiao

September 2003 Newsletter





Changjiao - Summer Programme 2003

 It had been a long hot summer for me.  It was extremely hot with temperature soaring to 39 degrees Celsius on the average and at times reaching 40 degrees.  I was told that it was the hottest summer in 50 years although some elders even claimed that it was the hottest summer in 100 years!  Many elderly villagers suffered from bleeding noses because of the heat.  Thank God, my niece and her husband came back from Shenzhen to give me a helping hand.  I stayed in their house.  It would have been impossible for me to stay in my usual room at the top floor of the school. 

This year the long summer holiday in China was from 11th July to 31st August.  My summer programme ran from 15th July to 22nd August.  Last year I only taught a reading programme albeit at different speed and levels to all the students.  This year, I again taught the same reading programming to all new students but I also taught three other courses:  a Basic Conversation Course, a Basic Grammar Course, a Reading and Comprehension Course. 

Last year, those attending the summer programme were primary 4-6 students and junior middle school students (lower secondary).  This year the students were from primary 3 to senior middle school (pre-university).  The number of students also increased threefold to 122 in spite of the fact that I had to turn away many students from the town of Dabu-Huliao and the neighbouring village Qicun.  Some students, whose grandparents live in Changjiao, came back from as far as Guangchou, Zuhai, Foshan, Dongguan and Shenzhen, to attend the English programme.  Many in the village told me that they had not seen so many youngsters in the village during the summer holidays for a long time.  In recent years it was common practice for students to visit their parents in the cities during the summer holiday. 

Looking back, I see three landmark events this year.  First of all, I had all along expected to be “investigated”.  I had prepared myself of such an event spiritually, emotionally and intellectually, expecting to be interviewed and questioned.  However, when it did happen, I was not involved at all.  On June 12th, two officers from the provincial capital of Meixian arrived.  They interviewed the headmaster and asked to see my nephew and niece.  I was teaching at that time.  They were told that they could interview me but they declined.  When they left, they told my nephew and niece that they were just “doing their job” so that they could write a report.  I was amazed to find out later that they had by-passed the local Dabu authorities as the Political Secretary in the village was not informed of the visit. 

The second landmark event was the fact that I was actually able to enlist the help of four local students to help me run the summer programme.  One girl just completed the senior middle three public examination and was offered a place at the prestigious Zhongsan Da Xue (Dr. Sun Yat Sun University) in Zuhai.  Another was a senior middle one girl and yet another was a junior middle three girl.  I also had a primary six boy helping me.  He proved invaluable throughout the programme as he did most of the computer work helping me with the typing and printing. 

The third landmark event was that during the summer, my niece and her husband supervised the renovation my nephew’s house.  At the height of the SARS outbreak, I was unable to return to Changjiao for a month.  During that time thieves broke into the school twice.  When I returned to Changjiao, the villagers felt that it was not safe for me to be alone in the school and suggested that I move into the hamlet of Baijiang.  My nephew, who transferred residence to Hebei in 1986, began building his house in 1984 but did not complete it.  He offered to let me use it for as long as I want.  I now have a newly renovated house.  It has four rooms, a hall, a courtyard, bathroom cum toilet, running spring water, and electricity.  Now I actually have an independent building where I can set up an English Language and Computer Literacy Centre. 

Keep me in your prayers.   God willing, a small La Sallian foundation will be formally established in a small village in main land China in 2004. 

As always with love in DLS in the service of youth and nation,

Take care and God bless.  DavidLiao FSC

Changjiao 14th September 2003



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