Saturday, January 19, 2008

Dedicated Jubilee Staff and Teachers

I have great admiration for the teachers and staff at the Jubilee school. Chankou is an isolated place. There is only one main street with a few shops and small restaurants. No entertainment as far as I can see. No book shops or other sources of stimulation.

Not only do they teach, they stay with the students all day, exercising with them, playing with them, and eating all their meals with them. The food is healthy but rather plain, with little meat. Lots of steamed buns, with some noodles and rice mixed in. Vegetables consist mainly of potatoes, Dai Bai Chai (Chinese cabbage), and some green onions. Coal is the main source of energy, used for heating, cooking, and whatever else. Working here is hard work.

In the long run, there are supposed to be house parents to take care of the children outside classes. But for now, the teachers double as house parents. Some of the teachers studied in popular fields such as languages in good universities in large cities. They probably have very good career prospects elsewhere but they chose to come to this remote place to be with these children. All of them are Christians, their faith is probably where they draw their strength from.

The Jubilee staff is no less amazing. Some of them are clearly uncomfortable with the cold, the water (mineral rich with a distinctive aroma), and the isolation. They had to overcome enormous odds and bureaucracy to get the school built. And they are continuing to battle to get the school equipped, students admitted, staff positions filled, finances supported. The manager(?) is a young lady with a sweet smile and friendly disposition. But I imagine the simile must be hiding infinite patience, finely-tuned business skills, and steely determination. The architect is a volunteer who continues to run around all day testing the electrical circuits, the door locks, the plaster falling from the walls and the ceiling, firing the coal burner to provide heat to the buildings, ... He is one-man real-estate development team.

Through their dedication and sacrifices, I see God working.

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