Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Universality of Kindness

I was going to write about my recent international basketball game against Chinese students, or perhaps my first experiences in the classroom, or maybe even my first experiences with Chinese nightlife, but all of those things can wait. Something more important happened to me yesterday. A few months ago I talked about how I performed a random act of kindness and deposited into the bank of Buddha. Well yesterday I made my withdraw with plenty of interest.

Myself and two friends, Steve and Jarrod, went to a near by park called Blue Mountain Scenic Area and did we ever have ourselves an adventure. First off it took us a really long time to get there, since the bus we were taking just sort of stopped and we had no idea where we were going, so we kept asking for directions (lucky for us my guide book has things written in Chinese or we would still be wandering!!!!). Once we got there though we were rewarded with some amazing views of Nanning and the surrounding area.

There were these amazing pagodas in the middle of the forest, the worlds longest bamboo corridor (it was 512m!!!!), a beautiful Buddhist temple that you could smell the incense from a mile away and this unreal lookout tower on the top of a mountain. Of course there were mini-buses going everywhere which we refused on many occasions. We were trying to get to a separate tower that we could see off in the distance and were wandering over towards it.

At this point I should point out to people that I haven't mentioned it to already. Foreigners are treated like rock stars around here. We get constantly gazed at and many, many people randomly say hello to us and giggle whenever we talk back. Life is good.

Anyway, back to reality. We were wandering around to find this tower and started walking through this field and this family (a mother, father and son that was maybe 4 years old) stopped to say hi to us. They then wanted to take our picture with their son, which we gladly obliged.

After we got to the end of the field we stopped to have a seat, as the sun started to quickly set. I was wondering just how nice our view would be in the dark and how long these mini-buses were running until, when the family came by again. Through a series of elaborate hand gestures the mother ended up offering us a drive. We were amazed and of course accepted.

They began to drive us out of the park and we really had no idea what to say (not that they would have understood anyway). They pulled over and the mother got out and started bargaining with this old lady on the side of the road. After a few minutes the father got out too, leaving the three of us foreigners alone in their new car, with their child and the keys in the ignition. Now where would you see that level of trust in North America?

They get back in with a back of star fruit and the mother turns around and gives us each one. I was spell bound I mustered out the best xiexie that I could and felt myself tearing up a bit. We communicate to the family to drop us off at the bus station (a couple of minutes from where we are) and I end up taking their picture as a memento of something that I don't think that I could ever forget.

Sorry the picture is low quality, my camera is a wee bit old.

I was so touched by this random act of kindness. Here we were as far away from home as we could ever be, in bot the literal and figurative sense, and we were treated to an act of true generosity. It made no difference in their lives I imagine to offer us a ride but it made all the difference in ours. It really goes to show me more that this world we live in is not so bad after all. One of my old high school teachers once said that "there are millions of good people out there just dying for you to ask them a favour" and I would like to add if I may "but there are few great ones who don't need to be asked". Well thousands of miles from home I met some pretty darn great ones.

I guess I need to find someway to make another deposit or two before I go into overdraft.

Until next time,



Sandee said...

hey buddy,
I am missing having you around. I love the e-mail, the blogs, the fact that I can keep up with your trip. I envy your experience.
Can't wait for the live version

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