Longgang Children Make “Little Pen Pals” With Myanmar Children
[Power News Reporter Lo Wei-Chou/News of Taoyuan]
Junior high school and elementary school students between Myanmar and Taiwan away from each other thousands of miles made “pen pals” with each other! CYCU international volunteers organized the “Face to Face & Heart to Heart with Myanmar” activity to hand the letters written by the Chinese school students personally in Myanmar over to the students of Jong Jen Elementary School, Taoyuan. Also, the volunteers planned to collect the children’s returned letters and bring them to Myanmar in next summer vacation, in order to enable the children in Taiwan and Myanmar who never met each other to know each other and realize each other country’s history through the communication by letters.
CYCU has extended the care to the Chinese school students in Lashio in the north of Myanmar for four years consecutively. It organized the English camp in Hei Meng Long High School and Guo Min High School in summer vacation this year, and also led the local Chinese school students to care for the orphanage founded by minorities, Li-Su Tribe. The Longgang Loyal Military Dependent’s Village around Zhongli were lived by a lot of Chinese returning from Yunnan and Myanmar. Therefore, CYCU volunteers took the initiative to organize the “Thousand Mile Love Post”, in hopes of enabling the Chinese separating in the two places to communicate with each other. The Chinese school students in Myanmar wrote down their introduction to their hometown, Lashio, passionately. Some wrote in his letter that “I don’t know you, but I want to share with you about the scenic views in Lashio”. Some wrote that “though I don’t know you, I want to invite you to visit Myanmar in winter vacation!” Everyone wrote the letters happily as they were making new friends.
In the activity, when the volunteers told the children of Jong Jen Elementary School that “these are letters from Myanmar”, a lot of children thought it incredible, as the friends of their same age in the strange yet familiar country could write the Chinese fluently and tidily. The 3rd-grade student surnamed Chen said that “I am amazing that there are people in Myanmar speaking and writing the same language as we do.” The 4th-grade student surnamed Chang also said that he knew about Myanmar because his grandfather talked about his own history, and he eventually knew that he had “isolated force” relatives living in the foreign country. “I thought that all of these were far away from me just like stories in the book only; however, today I see the letters brought back by our big brothers and sisters and I feel so engaged and happy, and I also want to write them back to tell them about everything of Taiwan!” said him.
Taoyuan Longgang Yunnan Business Development Association, which helped organize the activity, indicated that after hearing this activity, the Myanmar Chinese now living in Longgang participated in the activity with their children to listen to the folks and cultures of Myanmar experienced by CYCU volunteers in summer vacation and watch the photos showing the local scenic views and people’s smiles. The student of Department of Commercial Design, Yu Ting-Wen, said that “The uncles and aunts participating in the activity would correct the name of place identified by us and supplement additional information about Myanmar, and I could experience their feelings about Myanmar.”
The Myanmar volunteer group leader this year, a student of Department of Finance, Wang Yen-Ting, indicated that Myanmar volunteer group initiated this activity this year in hopes of enabling the local Chinese to experience the passion from Taiwan’s university students and bringing back the emotion and blood relation which were separated from thousands of miles because of time and space, to make the children in Taiwan know about the local life and Chinese cultures upheld by the local Chinese people in Myanmar again. The senior student of Department of Psychology, Tsai Yun-Chen, also said that “The Chinese school students in Lashio would practice calligraphy and read poem every day. The pride and admiration they uphold for Chinese cultures made me so impressive.”
Director Li Chun-Yao of CYCU Learning Service Center mentioned that each year, CYCU students would engage in the volunteer services in Myanmar, Cambodia, Salvador and Thailand in summer vacation to help the local rural areas with child education and IT education, and many university students participating in the services changed their life accordingly. For example, Chen Jou-An, who used to provide services in Cambodia, now becomes a “free-roaming illustrator” and love to share the stories about her travels to various countries. Fan Hsiao-Shan, who provided services in Myanmar three years ago, went back to the Chinese school in Lashio as a volunteer Chinese teacher continuously, in hopes of enabling the children from the mountain town to know more about the world and create their own life.
(Photo provided by CYCU/The children of Longgang Jong Jen Elementary School were concentrated on reading the letters from Myanmar.)