Intelligent Spirit Touched by Balloons

Today we visited a school for mentally challenged adults.  The name of the school, Huiling, means “intelligent spirit” in Mandarin.  One of our students wrote this description of the experience, which I think captures it best:

“Day 3 of our amazing China trip.  We volunteered with mentally challenged adults today and it was one of the best experiences so far.  We made bracelets, painted, played games, and made hats with balloons. The people of the center were so welcoming and happy.  We were literally smiling throughout the whole day.  It had to be the highlight of the day and one of the highlights of the entire program. We not only learned about the people in the center, but also about ourselves and how little it takes to place a smile upon a face and genuinely act toward mentally challenged people.”

It was really special to me that we got to share some balloon art with the trainees in the program.  Last night, I did a crash course with the high school students, and then they taught the people at Huiling School.  As always, balloons are a special way to communicate across difference, whether it’s language, culture, or otherwise. You can see in this video how much joy the balloons brought everyone:

6 replies »

  1. that looks really fun! With all the balloons and what not. THey must have been having a really good time!

  2. Sara-
    Balloons always break the ice! Love how you use your balloon-twisting talents to bring joy and help establish new friendships across cultures/languages. Enjoy!

  3. Until I read this post, I was content to let you have all the adventures. Now I wish I’d been there too! How amazing, to be able to work with teenagers AND special adults in the same setting, bringing only joy where there could be so much pain. I hope the rest of your trip holds many such wonderful moments.

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