My name is Jiang Xiaohong. I am 15 years old and come from the Yi ethnic group of Sichuan province, China.
Me at the Youth Camp
My Chinese name was given to me by my father. But my Yi name is Ji Nai A Zhi Mu. I have another Yi name – A Zhi Ji Bu Mu. This name is called out to the spirits in times of sickness or tragedy as the Yi believe that diseases and bad events are caused by evil spirits.
I have an older sister and two younger brothers. I will be starting high school in September and my ambition is to be a teacher. I first came to know about the youth camp in Yuexi through my aunt who was helping to organise the camp. My aunt has a heart for the young people in our town and that was how she got her friends from Care Channels to organise the camp. My aunt also helps out at Care Channels as an education sponsorship coordinator.
I was made a group leader of the Youth Camp as I was one of the older participants in the camp. My group consisted of 10-11 year olds.
My group of 10-11 year olds
This is the first time I am leading a group. The responsibility given to me motivated me to care and encourage my group members to participate in the camp activities. At the beginning, I thought, to make something successful, all members must participate. The responsibility of a group leader is not to force her group members but to instill in them the same enthusiasm and focus the leader herself would have. If they share the same goals, surely, what they do will turn out well. Or so I thought….
Kids made hearts that had words of appreciation for their parents
Discussing with the kids
I learnt that no matter how carefully I taught or gave instructions, not everybody followed. In one activity, we had to construct a wheel out of newspapers. Everyone was to get into the wheel and race the other groups to the finish line. But my young group members got so excited that they didn’t follow my instructions. The wheel we made was ruined.
At that point I felt so frustrated that I broke down and cried. I did everything to teach them but yet we failed. How can this be? But upon reflection, I realised I should not expect the younger team members to be as matured as I was in my thinking and attitude. Furthermore, winning wasn’t everything.
So, for the camp concert, I picked a song that was appropriate for the level of my group members and taught them to sing and dance to the music. The whole point was to enjoy ourselves and to entertain the other groups.
Performing our song at the concert
I think all the children had a really good time because children from other groups wanted to join in the song item as well.
People tell me that I have the makings of a teacher. I hope so. I would really love to continue teaching children to be the best they can be.
Story by Dora Lim and Wong Kah Wei