Translator | Hsiu-Lieh Cheng Proofreader | Ivory Lee
"It’s like a dream", said Chinese exchange student Zhang Hong about coming to Taiwan.
He lives a good life but he thinks that life should not only be about academics and fame rather, he believes that life should be about paying back to the community. With this thinking in mind, he chose to be a volunteer.
This choice as a volunteer in Taiwan allowed him to develop a deeper connection with Taiwan.
Zhang Hong, who is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at East China University of Political Science and Law, is from Shanghai with a charming personality. Currently, he is an exchange student at Soochow University. On his arrival night in Taiwan, he was so excited to the point where he couldn’t sleep and decided to walk from Dadaotun to Soochow University. Store signs, churches, ancient arches, and red lotus lights, ordinary scenes to the Taiwanese eye, catches Zhang Hong’s attention.
Zhang Hong grew up with his grandmother, whose mentality was to leave the best for him. Even though Zhang Hong is no longer living with his grandmother, she continues to leave the best food items for him to eat when he comes home. She refuses to touch them even if they have almost reached the expiration date as she anticipates for him to go home. This elderly love since childhood established Zhang Hong’s intimate relationships with his elders.
Be a Volunteer
"The development of a country is not dependent on how high the building is, but rather the people’s attitudes towards the weaker ones in society. When serving elders at the E-Soul Rehabilitation Center, we assist them with eating, utilizing skills learned during pre-work training. "
Zhang Hong feels proud of Eden's service, from pre-service meetings to conducting services such as group trainings, gaining wheelchair experience, going through briefing drills, etc. He believes that “Every detail is respect for the client."
During one exercise of the service, four volunteers from China introduced their hometowns. They then asked the elders to remember facts and information about these places in order to vote on which towns they would like to visit. This game was an example of getting the elders to use and maintain their memory and brain skills.
"For elders, keeping focused for a long time is a tough job. Our reports must be interesting and fun for them to utilize their mental capacity fully." Considering the limited concentration of the elderly, interactive games are interspersed from time to time to increase the appeal.
What Zhang Hong remembers the most from this experience was an elder who had awkwardly-placed lower limbs; yet, despite this fact, the elder still dressed in an elegant manner. During a game, because he was shy, the elder did not participate. Zhang Hong explains, “We played a clapping game. If the elders clapped at the right time, they would win prizes. But perhaps of embarrassment, some elders didn’t participate.” When Zhang Hong saw the embarrassed elders, he encouraged they several times. He realized that playing these games provided the elders with warmth, something that is worth a lot more than superficial prizes.
Zhang Hong said that his life has been smooth so far, but he recognizes that life should not only just be about pursuing academics and fame. It should be about giving unconditional help to others. Reflecting after his service he said, "On the service, it seems that we provide the elderly love, but if we carefully consider and reflect, we realize that it is us who are being helped. These service opportunities drive us humanity to be healthier." As Zhang Hong come to reflects, he begins to smile. "I think I will be volunteering all my life, picking up rubbish or donating money. No matter how big or small, I want to give unconditionally.” Zhang Hong will back to Shanghai at the end of August, but nonetheless, his volunteer journey is just beginning!
Join Eden's Volunteers!
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
Eden has started International Volunteer Program and invited youths from all over the world to hold summer camps for local communities in Taiwan since 2009. Until now, Eden welcomes volunteers all over the world to devote themselves to those in need. Have you ever think of trying to have the human interactions on the tiny island on the west Pacific? Eden offers opportunities for interns and volunteers. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and come!