I have begun my volunteer work at the school for autistic children! I will be there Monday thru Friday for 3 hours each day. It is really going to be difficult work on many levels.
At 1:30pm everyday I will walk to a particular bus stop to go to the autistic school. I will volunteer from 3-5pm and then get back on the bus during rush hour to return to the Keats School. It only takes 15 minutes at the most on my way there. During rush hour there are a lot of people on the bus and it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to get back to my school. Only the owner can speak a tiny bit of English, so I will only be able to use Chinese while I am there. The children do not have the most severe case of autism but there is only one more level of severity above them. The ages of the children are from about 3 to 8 years old (give or take). If the children are really young the parents can take the classes with them. The owner really wants me to talk with the parents as well. I should get used to it soon and I think it will really improve my Chinese.
When the children get to know me and are comfortable around me, I will be able to get pictures with them. For now I just took pictures of the school itself. The building is very low quality, no airconditioning, and a lot of open areas for mosquitos to get in. All the pictures you see above are the main parts of the building (excluding the playrooms and classrooms). Everything is on one floor except for the gym, which is also used as a storage/junk area.
I learned that maybe in the next year they will have to move to a different location because the city of Kunming wants to destore the building they are in, and build a skyscraper in its place. It is really sad because China will sacrafice an autistic school for modernization. This is a huge issue and going on everywhere in China right now.
I have been exploring the city of Kunming before my volunteer work began. I am glad that I had some time to become familiar with the local area and also get used to the bus system. I have seen many sides of Kunming – rich and poor.
The pictures that I will post below may be disturbing. They are of disabled and poor beggars on the street. I see them around every corner. I just want you all to be aware of what I see everyday. Many of the disabled beggars are owned by gangs so giving them money will only help the gang members. Also many of these people were kidnapped at a very young age and purposely disabled by the gangs. I feel so helpless because there is not much that I can do for them.
There are some people that I can help, though. And I will help with any chance that I get. The look on her face cannot be described by words. It looked like she had not eaten in a very long time and was too shocked to even say anything for a while. It was a great feeling.
Instead of going to an expensive hotel or area to get a massage, I found a place that gives blind people a chance to have a good life. They do their best job and are the nicest people you will ever meet!
On a somewhat happier note, here is man who actually enjoys sitting on the road with his dog and playing his Erhu (Chinese violin).