My First Two Weeks at PROJECT EDEN – Written by Sarah (Volunteer)

Over a dozen smiling faces crowded eagerly at the gate, calling out greetings and welcomes as Dale, Cyndi, Ruth, and I stepped out of the car and up to the house at Project Eden.  Excited voices clamored around the Gummins, and they cast timid, but curious glances at me, the newcomer.

Thus was my first look at my temporary new home.  I arrived from the States in September to live at Project Eden as a volunteer for the year.  After passing a dizzying number of skyscrapers on the way from Hong Kong and Shenzhen, I was surprised when the car bumped along a dirt road the final distance to Eden.  Bordering an overgrown lychee orchard with sounds of crickets instead of traffic at night, my new home away from home feels like a peaceful, rustic oasis in the midst of such a densely populated part of China.

I quickly got a taste for what life is like living with fifteen kids from three different cultures: lively and diverse.  My second week here, two of the boys had a bicycle wreck coming too fast down a hill, resulting in a scraped up knee for one and a fractured arm for the other (both have now healed nicely).  The same evening, amidst the chaos of bandaging wounds and making a trip to the hospital, the girls from Qinghai had chosen to make dinner for everyone: tsampa, the traditional dish from their homeland.  Half a dozen of them occupied the kitchen, stirring, mixing, and kneading as they eagerly prepared to share a little piece of their culture with us.

I love the unique diversity Eden is home to.  Not many places, I’m sure, ring with the sound of Tibetan chatter, Chinese radio blasting, and young voices singing a Michael Jackson song, all at the same time.  My favorite part of the day is meeting the school bus to see all those bright, smiling faces and walking home with them.  I look forward to the months to come.

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