At Bethel China, we try to keep our supporters updated with the ups and downs of our organisation. We think that it is important that we highlight both the successes and challenges of our work.
There are a few ways in which you can keep regularly updated about Bethel's work. You can subscribe to the updates that are written by Bethel's founders, Guillaume and Delphine. Click here to subscribe on our bethelchina.org website.
Below is the latest email update about Bethel from our founders in the Philippines.
Before we left China I told you that we wanted to take you all on an adventure with my family as we embark for Cebu island and see how we can be of help. The beginning is what I call the “birth pains”. You are getting ready to start something, but not sure exactly what, somewhere you don’t really know! It’s a lot of unknown to take in! Some find it is a recipe for an anxiety attack, some feel like “let’s go baby! let’s do this!!!”.
Our experience in China comes handy sometimes to put things into perspective. When we started Bethel, it took a year and a half before we received the first children. It is so frustrating to have an idea, a plan, a heart and feeling like you are stuck in the starting blocks. But that’s when you get thick skin, you learn the ropes. Vision falls flat to the ground without good old determination. An organization is people. The first of whom is its founder, the pioneer. The way he sets things up will set the tone for the organization’s culture for years to come. That’s why if you want to change an organization you have to fire the founder or send him to a far away tropical island like Cebu !!! :) (I can hear the Chinese staff from here:” Fire him, fire him!!! :-)
Unlike China, everybody speaks english here. It is tempting to by-pass learning the language because you can communicate but there is something special that happens when you take the time and effort to learn the people’s language. First of all it gives them a smile up to their ears! but most importantly it puts you on the same level, or lower for that matter, since you speak like a baby. Language carries more than information. Specially in the context of a colonized country, language also carries history which can get in the way.
We are working on a permanent resident visa which is a lot of running around! The children are all homeschooled which keeps Delphine busy. In the beginning, one thing that is important I think is to ask a lot of questions, to many different people. It helps me to shape a clearer picture of the environment and to know where are its limits and averages... by that I mean that unlike the West where you have data for everything from what is the market price of a used 1997 ford with X miles to land lease low average and high price per square meter, here you have to go through friends of a friend. For anything you need or ask, there is always a friend who knows a friend... so it’s important to get your facts from several sources to find the average and make it your negotiation goal.
Mary (555 director), Nancy (Lighthouse Manager) and Liqin (who use to be one of Bethel kids and got an education in the US and now works for Bethel) came to visit us from China, for a few days.
We ate Jiaozi, lots of them! (actually about 100!!!)
We took them to the beach. Liqin describes the ocean has a big thing you can get into, with no end...
News from China
During that time, back in China were levels of pollution would make a chimney cleaner loose his sleep, life goes on. We decided to give the animals more freedom and it’s nice to see them roaming around, mowing the lawn.
Our poney is now good buddie with the sheep!
Tabitha built a nice blanket castle for the children. I love when these kind of things happen, it really makes Bethel feel more like a home. It gives memories to the children that other children will have in common with them later on.
A little 7 year old boy in our Zhengzhou project called Rong Fei came to Bethel on the 6th November this year. Just a few weeks later, he told his ayi that he had a bad headache, so she sent him for a scan in the hospital. Sadly, he was diagnosed with cancer of the eye at a very late stage, and he died on the 10th January 2013. We are very sad, we will continue to serve blind orphans in China to ensure that preventable eye disease is caught at an early stage.
The ZZ project now has 10 children with visual impairments, as you can see, during the winter they all have to wear hundreds of layers of clothing, so they look very round. In the past few months of this project, Bethel staff have loved and cared for the children, teaching them to speak and walk. They are in Bethel's care on weekdays from 8am-5pm and are eating more vitamins, fruit and milk. We are looking for a doctor to give these children a health check, if you know anyone in or around Zhengzhou, please let us know!
Bethel has joined together with a number of other organisations working with vulnerable children in China to work as a team to exchange experiences and ideas. Together, we serve just a small number of children in China, but his will be a great platform in the future for us to combine resources and build stronger mechanisms to reach out to more children across China in the future.
The kids and young people in our Changping project are doing well adapting to their new environment with structured classes and therapy. Here, they are learning about painting and visual art. They also have more O&M lessons and individual goals. Xin Ai has learned how to feed himself with a spoon in just a few weeks!
It was Christina's birthday on Friday 11th January. She saved up and bought a new handbag for herself, and she also opened up some lovely presents and talked to some sponsors on skype. As she is learning how to be responsible with her work, money and time, she got a little treat: a weekend in the city eating, having her nails painted, playing foosball and spending time with the girls in Bethel's City Life Project. She was pretty tired by the end of it! She still needs encouragement as she transitions into being a working adult and a member of the team at Bethel, but we are proud of the progress that she is making.
Beijing Blind School
Our kids at the Blind School were featured in January's edition of 'Runner's World' magazine! This is great exposure and we hope that more people are inspired to run through the example of our kids. In the spring we will re-launch Bethel's running club and we hope lots of people will join us! It's a great way to stay healthy and to change misconceptions about what visually impaired children can and can't do.
A Scottish ophthalmologist came to our DD project last week to check our kids eyes and to recommend some of our children to wear glasses. She told us that for our kids who have some vision, we should harness that vision and give them the resources to be able to see more. She highlighted 8 children who will go to the hospital in the next few months to see if they can be fitted for glasses. She had some cool apps on her iPad that were interactive and the kids who have low vision were able to see them instantly and you could tell that their eyes were stimulated and they could see something. If anyone would like to sponsor a pair of glasses, please let us know.
The “Awwwwwwh” picture of the week
Ok folks, that’s it for me!
Thank you for being part of this adventure with us!
Guillaume & Delphine
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