I’ve done a fair amount of reflection in my past few blog posts, but I suppose there’s always room for more. Over the course of this semester I’ve both achieved and not achieved my goals. I actually have a much clearer and more long-term view of the trajectory of my work, and a vision for what I want to achieve not only in this semester, but further on in college. Continue reading
During my summer trips to Shimenkan, I was able to explore and view the current state of the village from my own perspective. The experience was definitely special and seeing the actual village made it easier to learn about the history. For a large portion of the semester, I’ve been studying the history of Shimenkan and I explored topics like poverty, the value of charity, charity and more. Continue reading
My time in the 6th grade classroom is quickly becoming a part of me in that I am connecting with the kids much more now. I feel like they trust me now and they are much more comfortable with asking me questions and having me help them. I feel more and more that this is no longer just a project, but something that makes me get up in the morning and smile while walking through the entrance of the middle school.
How much has changed in Shimenkan since Pollard’s arrival?
How much has changed in Shimenkan since the Chinese government started their reconstruction work?
The answer to the first question is A LOT, but the answer to the second question can be both a lot and very little.
When Pollard first arrived at Shimenkan, he had no money. As a religious missionary, he had hope and a plan to do his work in the village. Without money, he couldn’t buy land from the villagers or the local government. However, he made a deal with the landlord. He asked for “some land that is only worth one whole piece of calfskin”. The landlord was confused, but he thought a full piece of calfskin is barely anything, so he said yes to Pollard’s request. That night, he cut up a whole piece of calfskin into thin strips and sewed them together into a long line. The next day, when he met with the landlord to take the land, he rounded up enough land to build a church with the strip of calfskin. With some villagers’ help, a church was built. In the beginning, the church served both as a school and a church. As time went, the first school and the first hospital was built at Shimenkan.
Three years ago, the Chinese government started to reform areas that are in poverty. Shimenkan was listed under one of the targeted rural villages in the “help the poor” project in China. In the whole process, the government invested over 10 BILLION Yuan on this small village. New apartment-style houses were built, and the village is physically connected with roads. However, even with the new houses and the roads, villagers here are still trapped in poverty. The government doesn’t seem to understand that the real way to improve these people’s lives is to teach them how to fish, not just give them the fish. From the physical appearance, Shimenkan has changed much more than what Pollard had done. However, what the village really needs is education that will provide them a chance and the ability to connect with the outside world.
With little money and resource, Pollard built a church, a school and a hospital that really improved people’s quality of life. With more than enough money, the government only helped the village on the most basic level. I hope that the government can see that it is the education system that needs to be improved so the villagers can build more wealth on their own.
This picture was taken in the early days of Pollard’s arrival. I found this picture in the Shimenkan gallery.
This weekend I finally got to get going on some of the stuff I talked to T. Chris about a week or so ago. Last night I had Maggie sit for me so that I could paint her. I painted her for about an hour and a half to try and get the bulk of the imprimatura done. Basically, the imprimatura is the sketch and toning layer of an oil painting. I first lay down a solid base color (this time I chose cadmium red with a hint of Venetian red to produce the warm pink color which underlies Maggie’s skin tone) by spreading thinned down paint with either a large brush, a paper towel, or a mixture of the two until I have an even medium to light shade covering the entirety of the canvas. Continue reading
Last week I was tasked with both preparing a lesson for T.Dan’s Spanish 2 classes and writing an argumentative essay.
For my lesson I decided I wanted to teach the class about País Vasco, one of the regions in Spain that I have been studying. Continue reading
For this week’s blog post, I would like to highlight a recent surge in Richard II’s popularity. Not as a topic of discussion at the average family dinner table, of course (this would be quite odd indeed), but among historians and literary scholars. This is due to a fascinating connection made between our current political situation and the reign of Richard II as depicted by Shakespeare. In several articles I have read online, Donald Trump has been compared to Shakespeare’s version of Richard. I thought it would be interesting to explore this comparison in my blog post, since it connects my project (which can easily come off as being remote from and insignificant to our lives today) to the modern world. Continue reading
Hello all, Natalie here to talk about some plans. I feel I should begin with informing you all of one fact: I grew up on the images of Tolkien and Shel Silverstein and JK Rowling and Maurice Sendak (for those of you who perhaps don’t know stories by their authors, that’s Lord of the Rings and Where the Sidewalk Ends and Harry Potter and Where the Wild Things Are), and they have greatly influenced me both as a person, and as an artist. Continue reading
Hello! My name is Peirce and I am a 12th grader at Westtown. For my independent project I am studying soccer and the role it has in history and in culture in both Spain and some countries in South America. Continue reading