At the end of April, Marco and the members of BZ came to Yuzhong (GanSu) again, and met the children who he helps.
It had been at night when we arrived in Lanzhou. Mr.Zhang and the school’s vice secretary along with 4 students were waiting for us in the airport with flowers and welcoming address. The students were too shy to talk with us. As one of them mentioned later in his letter “I thought that what I should do when meet Uncle Marco .The excited mood more than I can describe by words.”
The next day was the May Day, we went to Yuzhong NO.1 high school to meet our 26 kids with Mr.Zhang, I was imagining how the meeting would be all alone the way to there; they would be as nervous as I was or there would be a lively talk? Marco realized the publicity column in the campus was changed place as soon as we entered into the school. Hoping that there are still many information of outstanding students on it as it once was. Then Mr.Zhang told us that there were 23 students waiting for us in a classroom except 3 students had left for home. The students showed their enthusiasms with applause when we entered into the classroom, they seemed so shy and so was Marco, but as we known that actually these kids were just like his own children in his eyes.
“I had thousands of imagination of Uncle Marco before he came here: what kind of person is he? How we would meet each other? Why he is so kind to help us? We all dreamt those nice things in life. I can’t believe that I could have a chance to be close to a foreigner who I never met and who is helping me to realize my dreams. It is a miracle, and Uncle Marco is a miracle in my life, I am so lucky.” This was what a student wrote in her letter. And I guess the other students must have the same thoughts too. At the moment when I saw them, I saw the happy and excitements in their eyes beside their shyness. We began with introducing ourselves to each other. They are actually very good; some can even use English to describe themselves directly but just very nervous.
It was more or less restrained to sit in the classroom, besides; Marco wanted to invite all students to have lunch together, so we decide to go outdoors and by the way to have lunch. We found a restaurant near the Xinglong Mountain; it was a nice place, Marco sit among the students and talked with them. Some students discussed to make a performance to Marco, and then they sang for us. They sang sentimentally, just like the description in the lyrics the caring from far away bring them hopes to go on, they will realize their dreams, use a thanksgiving heart to face the life.
“Uncle Marco treated us with a nice lunch, what’s more, that I could meet him and all of us could hold together are really an unforgettable thing. And I’ve never been so happy before. I have so many innermost thoughts and feelings to tell him but I lost my idea to say it out, all words come to thanks, hoping that ours songs can convey our heartfelt thanks to Uncle Marco.” This is also written by one of the students in his letter.
The kids were very shy to begin those dishes they selected, or maybe they were thinking about how to take out their gift to Uncle Marco. Well, their Uncle Marco was just like a father, caring for the kids around him, picking up dishes to them, ladling and filling their bowls with rice. So busy he was, hihi! Later the kids told me “Uncle Marco is so nice!”
Our mood at that moment was just like the sunshine outside the window, very warm and pleasant. We enjoyed sunshine in the yard after meals. Just at that moment some students suddenly gave their hand-made or selected presents to Marco and me. There are paper-made stars, writing brush, shoe cushions and albums. Of course, the cameras were also busy recording the happy moment.
Then, Marco decided to take the children to the Xinglong Mountain senic spot nearby to enjoy the scenery there.
“If there isn’t a garden of golden rapes, I think my life will be full of nothing but the empty papers. The car is driving fast on the road and outside the car window there is a drop of golden sun, also the golden rapes are smiling in the fields.” This is what a girl in her third year of high school wrote. In their tense high school life, they have no much chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the great joy in traveling. The golden rapes standing outside the road made their hearts which were filled with exam papers bright immediately.
Less than an hour's journey, than the first famous mountain of the east Gansu---Xinglong Mountain, which has a long standing reputation in our eyes, came into our views. A dark green jumped into our sight. Few pines and cypresses were there within a 100 km radius. But the luxuriantly green pines and verdant cypresses are standing here, vibrantly.
At the foot of the mountain, there are newly-built mountain villa, restaurant, the palace with customs and habits. Some of them are elegant with classic simplicity; some of them are novel and elaborate. And many other Mongolian yurts are standing here orderly. What a beautiful northern-frontier style!
Xinglong Mountain is well-known in Gansu, it is the wonderland of Lan County. In ancient times, people named it by Qiyun Mountain for the saying that white clouds were there endless and boundless. During the region of Emperor Kang Xi of the Qing Dynasty, the name was changed to Xinglong Mountain, to indicate the meaning of rejuvenation. Two mountain peaks, Qiyun Peak (altitude 2400 metres) and Xinglong Peak (altitude 2500 meters) compose the main feature.
Among the green seas and billows, the famous scenic zones of Xinglong Mountain, Qiyun Mountain, Maxie Mountain, Guantan Ditch, and about other ten scenic spots are like the agate mounting on the emerald, emitting radiant sparkles. This is the visiting wonderland that nature bestows the everyday world; it also reflects the wisdom, talent, and the spirit of creativity of the working people in all ages.
“I recalled that I had climbed mountains many times when I stayed at home, there weren’t verdant wood in the mountains at home but rimless rolling hills and droughts. I never climbed mountains for fun. I run all over the mountains and plains just for working. On May Day I climbed mountains for fun, maybe I should say it’s mountaineering, When we stepped into the mountaineering area, I sighed in my heart silently, the hills here are so green than I can imagine,” said a boy, these children had to worry about the bread-and-butter issue than their peers because of poverty, how can they get a chance to enjoy themselves?
With strong desire to succeed if we climb high, we got on the Xinglong Peak. Among the alte Fichten und Zypressen there was a tomb of the earliest communist Zhang Yiwu. Walking along about 100 meters was a villa where Jiang Jieshi and his wife had lived. This vial was a small and delicate, structure unique, solomn and profound, which was built by the KMT government of Gansu in 1942, to welcome Jiang Jieshi to come to Lanzhou. On right of the villa was a bombproof where Jiang Jieshi held the military and political meeting. As time passed by, the heavily-guarded villa had changed into a place for tourists to visit and enjoy themselves, Students watched the historical picture of the brief on the introduction on the wall carefully. Let’s just treat it as a history class for our kids during the tour.
We wriggle up along the path. The clouds circle around the stand towering peak, and there are many trees along the path. When we reached the Qizhen palace hall, we saw a tall sturdy pine which has been growing for hundreds of years.
Standing in front of the Qizhen palace hall, we could have a panoramic view of Xinglong mountain area. The students fall over themselves to have their pictures taken there. About 2 hours climbing then we reach the top of the mountain. And every one was breathless and soaked with sweat. And Marco became the children’s model, like a student said: “However, the most unforgettable experience is that we went to Xinglong mountain with uncle Marco .Especially Climbing .I couldn’t imagine that uncle Marco is such a strong man .I hardly caught up with him ,but I still insist on . I never give up , I never lose hope . I learnt a important lesson forn uncle Marco. I should possess power and try to challenge.”
“The tour to the mountain makes me feel relax from inside. Though it not as famous as Guilin, it’s lush trees and quiet fresh air give me a nice feeling. And these is a love connects all of us, support us to keep going on and not to give up.” This is also a feeling from a student.
It had been in the afternoon after we got down the mountain. “I hope that Uncle Marco could come to see us again.” a kid said. And they waved hands to us to say goodbye.