My Seng Girls Home Adventure – by Julie Ponthier

(Pictures: 1 – Dancing with the girls; 2 – Prayer flags; 3 – Julie reunited with her Shenzhen students; 4 – card games; 5 – Teaching with Rebecca; 6 – Group photo with some Seng girls.)

Our Qinghai adventure began in Xining, after flying from Shenzhen via Xi’an. Xining looks like other large cities in China, lots of tall buildings and freeways, but has a desert feel with exposed brown sand around and dry air. Our host, Dockpo, and his friend picked up our group of seven ladies early in the morning for our ten hour drive to the Seng Girls Home. The drive took us from 2,300 meters to 4,200 meters, and passed through changing scenery. We drove through rocky mountains with lots of trees and a fast-moving stream, then a deep gorge area and finally into a tree-less alpine scenery. It was beautiful and unique, especially with the colorful prayer flags decorating the hillsides and the tops of each mountain pass. When we arrived at the girls’ home, we were treated to a grand welcome with about 100 girls waving the welcome scarves and greeting us.

During our three day stay, we were able to spend lots of time with the girls. We taught them several card games, like UNO, Go Fish, and Memory, which we played in large groups in the dining hall. It was sweet to watch the older girls, who caught on to the rules first, explain it to the younger girls. We also spent lots of time dancing with the girls. They showed us the dances they have been performing for the central government exhibitions and often invited us to join in. We taught them some group dances like the Electric Slide, Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes, and the Hokey Pokey. They wanted us to do them over and over! We had to eventually stop because we were so breathless from the altitude adjustment. We also enjoyed teaching an English lesson to the girls, which was a challenge because our first grade class understood no English and we spoke no local language. However, the girls were so attentive and eager to learn.

The trip was an amazing experience and so rewarding to see all what Dockpo, LOVEQTRA and Captivating International have created to change the lives of these young girls. They have truly created a home, not just a school, and a future full of opportunities. I feel so fortunate to have had this adventure, and I often think about the trip with a smile on my face.

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