This past February, we were invited to an unforgettable dinner at a home full of love and warmth. At the door we were greeted with open arms. The delicious food was superbly prepared by an extraordinary chef, Mrs. Yang. We should all salute her with a heartfelt "Thank You". We had a wonderful time that was long overdue. It was a time to catch up with some long lost friends. The evening was filled with joy and happiness and we were able to really think about our lives and where it has taken us.
China - a place that most of our ancestors called home; a country in the Orient that is a fierce competitor in the world's economy. We learn this mostly from our parents and through media such as books and newspapers. From these sources, we also come to know that behind all the glamour, there is also sadness. Our countrymen in the rural villages are suffering from inequality, poverty, loneliness, and substandard living conditions. People are crying out for help. Unfortunately, their calls are mostly left unanswered.
We thank God for the selfless devotion and hard work of many volunteers like our friend Winnie Yang (known to us as "Super Win") - volunteers who have come from around the world to care for the poorest of the poor; people who give up a comfortable life to travel to the rural villages and live up to the spirit of Mother Teresa ¡V gracious as a servant of God.
Volunteering in China's rural villages is beyond my wildest imagination. Life there is vastly impoverished. There are no proper facilities, weather is unstable, education is poor, and health care is inadequate due to the lack of food and clean water.
Generally, many of the remote villages are unheard of, and the villagers' lifestyle remains primitive. In order to reach the villagers, frequent long trips are necessary. Travel is often primitive as the only mode of transportation to a village could be via a stubborn donkey. Walking on the hillside or other undeveloped landscapes would not be a surprising alternative.
Besides these demanding journeys, there are other factors which could prevent these volunteer missions from being successful. These would include homesickness, infectious diseases, and cultural and language differences.
Winnie and her team have a tremendous mission - to help educate and train thousands of villagers and improve their living conditions. Some will acquire the skills and knowledge needed to make a living on their own. In the not-so-distant future, their future generations will be able to achieve their goals and be successful even in places outside of their homeland.
In return for all of their hard work, the volunteers will see many happy faces on the villagers as their living conditions and self-esteem improve. Most importantly, friendships developed with the locals will be treasured for a lifetime.
Despite of all the hardships and tough living conditions (working in sub-zero temperature in the winter and sandstorms in the summer to name a few), Super Win will continue to carry out her mission in the rural villages of Xinjiang.
Super Win - you are a true humanitarian. We will always be proud of you.