My daughter will be on TV on June 10
By melinchina on May 29, 2007
at 11am on CCTV Channel 12 (China's National TV station). Audrey will be in the second half of a 45-minute show. But the fact that she'll be on TV isn't the best part, not by far.
The best part was filming the show last weekend.
The theme of Audrey's segment goes something like this. American girl moves to Beijing, starts going to school in a clean, comfortable city environment and thinks she knows China. Then she sees a movie called "Not One Less" and realizes there are much poorer parts of China where kids don't even have decent school books, lighting or heat. So the girl gathers up some food, clothes and gifts and goes out to the school where "Not One Less" was filmed and finds out what life is really like in that village.
This last weekend we were in that village (Shuiquan in Hebei Province) and filmed the show.
My first impression of the place was that it is poor. It has very little fresh water and people tend to save the water they have for essential things like eating and cooking. Not much of it is used on bathing, which has a different connotation anyway since there are no showers, bathtubs, or toilets for that matter.
Most of the older people I talked to couldn't read or write although the school kids could so there appears to be an upward trend in the level of education. Based on what I could tell from just one day together, the kids in Shuiquan appear to be behind their same-age peers in Beijing. The Curriki project came to mind but since Shuiquan doesn't have internet access I don't know how they'd take advantage of it.
However as time went by I started to see past my preconceived notions about quality of life and came to realize how rich Shuiquan is.
There's something unspoiled about the people there. The adults were extremely curious about us and open about themselves and their lives. We were invited into every home in the entire village over the course of two days. The children were polite and well-behaved, curious and smart, happy and playful. I asked one girl if she liked living there and she said yes, because they had the mountains and the animals and their family around them. She said that when people leave Shuiquan to go work in the city they usually cry every day because they miss home so much.
And as we drove away on Sunday evening, I could understand why.
Here are our kids and the Shuiquan kids on the school playground.
Filming in the classroom.
Me talking with some of the village people while the film crew worked with the kids inside the classroom:
Me with the girl who played the youngest student in the movie "Not One Less". She still lives right next to the school.
Lots of people were curious to see what all the commotion was about at school that day.
One lady cooked lunch for us. We had white rice mixed with potatoes, some fresh root vegetables and pickled potatoes. They were the best potatoes I've ever had.
There were more animals in the village than people.
By the end of the day the kids were playing together like old friends.
Many thanks to Sophia Zhang for sending this CCTV opportunity our way. :)