Dr. Lomino in China: February 16
FEBRUARY 16: STRAWBERRY FIELDS AND FOREST
This is Community Day for the children. They take field trips around the area, and since it was Astrid’s week, she wanted to take them strawberry-picking. The fields were surrounded by the city—a green oasis in the midst of ever-rising skyscrapers and honking cars. Gathering plastic pails and scissors the children begin busily snipping the sweet treats. About 30 minutes later, they are either tired of the chore or their pails are filled to the brim. Jecky suggests the we share our harvest with the teachers who have been too busy helping the children to pick any for themselves. He is a thoughtful man!
The buses are loaded and we arrive at the forest. While the groups explore, Jeff wants to show me an area he thinks needs to be developed for an additional site. We walk across the path from the main camp where he shows us several stands of bamboo and more lychee fruit trees. Using a stick to shuffle through the leaf litter he attempts to alert any snakes of our approach. I gladly let him lead the way since I don’t want to meet up with any of the 35 species of venomous snakes in South China, including several varieties of cobra. We find a number of grave sites as we wander around in the woods. Jeff says there is actually a village here, but with a number of stone walls surrounding the acreage and the thick stand of trees it is hard to imagine an actual village here. I do agree with Jeff—it is an excellent site. Snake netting will need to be installed first and some clearing of brush, but it is shady and mysterious—perfect for children’s adventures.
The children continue with their schedule. I observe one little boy pretending to be a worm, wiggling in the dirt and several girls find a quiet spot to draw pictures. After lunch and nap time the conclusion to the day is making a fruit salad using some of the picked strawberries plus bananas and apples. The children help cut the strawberries with plastic knives and the treat is enjoyed by all.
Today’s Insight: People here are amazingly adaptable. A village, probably ancient, and strawberry fields, in the middle of a metropolis. They are unexpected but yet don’t seem out of place in this incredible country.