A Visit Into Snowy Mountains & Children Of Lanzhou

Our mission on the trip to Lanzhou on behalf of the Rotary club was to visit the schools we built and to bring materials, books, toys and clothes for the children. 

Lanzhou
PHOTO Lucas Sin

There’s something about the wave of school children swarming towards your minivan that makes you giddy with excitement.  You’ve been bumping along rugged paths lining the Qilian ranges for about 4 hours, and when the van finally pulls at a stop, you press your nose against the window to see about 100 students, wrapped in uniform blue and white jackets, massed in front of their school, clapping in anticipation for your arrival.  As you precariously slip out into the cold, you’re not met with just the chill, but with a mass of smiles.  They’re trembling just as hard as you are, perhaps more, but you can’t help but imagine a part of them are trembling with excitement.  With that, you forget the snow, your sore legs and your camera.

Lanzhou
PHOTO Lucas Sin

What follows next seems to be somewhat of a blur.  School children with red handkerchiefs around their necks embrace every one of the visitors.  The ones holding the banner inattentively let go, and the teachers scarcely try to stop them.  There is scarcely anytime to see the school our funds had just built in the backdrop, for smile upon smile floods your vision.  Everything is laced with a blissful pandemonium, and innocent jubilance.

Our mission on the trip to Lanzhou on behalf of the Rotary club was to visit the schools we built and to bring materials, books, toys and clothes for the children.  Yet, I have since forgotten about the plaque revealing ceremony, the speeches given by government officials and the celebratory feasts.  What are far more memorable are their wild cheers, the children’s icy cold hands, their attentive eyes while you teach them the Alphabet song and the scurry of their feet during an impromptu soccer match.  Indeed, it’s at times like this where the cause you work for feels real; where charity work is beyond bake sales and fundraising events and much more about connecting with other human beings you’ve never met, yet feel so close to.

Lanzhou
PHOTO Lucas Sin

Lucas Sin

Contributor

Lucas studied cognitive science and English at Yale University, and is now a chef and co-founder of Junzi Kitchen, a modern Chinese restaurant that showcases the noodles and bings of northern China.

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