Chinese volunteer teacher Lin Jieyu looks on during a language class to local students at Nongping Primary School in Vientiane, Laos, March 26, 2019. (Xinhua/Wang Jingqiang)
by Zhang Jianhua, Wang Shan
VIENTIANE, April 18 (Xinhua) -- "It was in the second week I came to Laos. It was hot, and even when I stood under an electric fan, I sweated. Seeing this, my students stood in a circle around me and fanned me using their notebooks," said 24-year-old Lin Jieyu, a volunteer Chinese language teacher at Nongping Primary School.
She came from Jilin province in northeastern China. It is not easy for her to adapt to the hot weather in Laos when she just came here but was greatly touched by their warm hearts.
" A boy wanted to give me two handkerchiefs for wiping away sweat. I did not accept that at the beginning as I was shy but he insisted and followed me anywhere I went," Lin Jieyu wrote in her diary. "At that moment, I felt cool but my heart felt warm. And my tears were about to fall."
Nongping Primary School in Laos, funded by the China Foundation for Peace and Development, was built in May, 2013. The foundation sent volunteers to schools to teach Chinese since October 2013. Chinese language classes are offered from the first grade to the fifth grade, ranging from two class hours to six.
There are currently two Chinese volunteers in the school. The other, named Yao changhua, 25, from Guangxi province in southern China, is more adaptive to the weather and living conditions in Laos.
"Whenever we call them (teachers and students' parents), they help us," said Yao Changhua. "When Lin Jieyu just came here, we went shopping for food, and our bikes broke down, so we had to call another teacher for help. The husband of the teacher came to help in a pickup truck. It was almost evening. We felt warm because of the timely help."
Yao Changhua has been in Laos for one and a half years, "As long as we have any problems, they will try their best to help us. Care from other teachers and students' parents made us feel at ease in Laos." Yao Changhua added.
Volunteers sowed seeds of love in the school and harvested heart-warming feedback from students, which makes volunteers moved and proud.
"What moved me most was what happened on the Valentine's Day last year. Early in that morning, I opened my door and found a second-grade student standing outside, holding a rose in his hand. He stumbled and handed over the flower to me, and then he happily ran away after I expressed my thanks to him," Yao Changhua recalled.
"After class, students often interact with us. For example, if we learn new words such as 'elder sister' and 'younger sister' in class, students will bring their sisters and brothers to us after class to show their understanding of the words," said Yao Changhua who could not help laughing.
Chinese volunteer teacher Lin Jieyu interacts with local students at Nongping Primary School in Vientiane, Laos, March 25, 2019. (Xinhua/Wang Jingqiang)
The simply stories actually reflects students' trust and respect for Chinese volunteer teachers.
Bounmy Vilaisan, 56, the principal of Nongping Primary School, was satisfied with the performance of Chinese volunteer teachers. "All Chinese teachers performed well in terms of their personality and interpersonal relationship. For example, students like to play with and learn Chinese from them. Students' parents often greet them with smiles whenever they meet in the village. The number of students in our school exceeds that in other schools because we teach Chinese language."
As these young Chinese teachers wholeheartedly cultivate Lao students, they are treasured by the school. "They are warmly received. For example, the school gives them clothes as gifts on the Teachers' Day or the Women's Day. And if there are any activities, they are invited to participate in," said Bounmy Vilaisan.
As said by Chinese teachers, on every major holiday, other teachers will lead them to go to That Luang Temple to worship Buddha and participate in the morning alms giving activities, which enriches the Chinese teachers' life in Laos, and gives them a more thorough understanding of the Lao culture.
Soon, principal Bounmy Vilaisan, the two Chinese volunteer teachers and other two Lao teachers will take six students from the school to Beijing to participate in related activities of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
This will be the first time that Yao Changhua and Lin Jieyu travel to Beijing.
Yao Changhua thought that this travel would be valuable to students, "Usually, I can only tell students about Beijing through pictures and textbooks. But this time I will take them to see what Beijing is really like. As a Chinese teacher, I feel proud. And I feel happy for them as well."
"I will take them to watch the national flag-raising ceremony at Tian'anmen Square, climb the Great Wall, and walk around to have a look at Beijing," said Lin Jieyu. "Although we teach students words such as 'China' and 'Beijing', they do not have a clear understanding of these words. Therefore, this travel is an opportunity for them to see what China is really like."
The nine-year-old Phomvihane is a student of the fourth grade. She firstly expressed her views on her Chinese teacher like this, "I like her. She teaches very well. Although sometimes she is strict with us, but she has a good attitude."
Knowing that she is going to Beijing with her teacher, Phomvihane said "I am looking forward to this day, and I hope it will come soon, because I expect it so much!"