Saturday, December 25, 2010

TV Show-Filming

As I mentioned in the previous post, MBC TV, which is a huge channel in Korea, decided to do an 8 minute piece on our volunteer club.  The piece will air on the 29th between 7:30 and 9:30 ( I will update the time when I know). They spent 8 hours filming at our school. (Update...the actual time is 6:50).

I walked through the gates at 6:45 in the morning I really had no idea how the day would go.  Would the kids have finished the banners and posted everything on the bulletin boards? How would the interviews go?  Would it all be stupid and silly?  Would the other teachers have fun with things?

I saw the lights on in the English at work already.  Is that a good thing or bad thing?

I went upstairs.  Han Jin was hard at work with a few other students.  She showed me the first banner.  Cute, informative, perfect.  Ditto on the posters. 

2nd banner...not great, but maybe we can use it. Then I read it more closely..."Volunteer Clud".  Oops. Never make banners when you are tired.  We had to re-purpose the banner.

The camera man came around 7 and shot a couple of boys getting ready for school for the introduction, something along the lines, "why is one boy putting on his uniform and the other is not".

Kids were making egg, potato, mayo and ketchup sandwiches and the cameraman filmed the kids making them  

We went upstairs to the English classroom and he filmed the kids finishing the updated banner (thank god we had some paper sitting around to glue to the old banner!) 

We had our morning meeting and then he began taping various activities in the school.  There was one that a student had to vote on something about each teacher.  To be honest, I still do not know exactly what it was about but they made signs and a bulletin board and had fun.

I was really happy so many of my colleagues decided to don the school uniforms.

Mid morning, we started the little shop for selling the cookies, brownies, and sandwiches the kids made along with some cocoa and tea.  I thought there was no way we would sell over 400 cookies and 50 brownies along with about 60 sandwiches in the entire day, but within 15 minutes almost all of it was gone.

One teacher made a "donation box" at the start of the year.  Each time a student cursed in class, they had to make a "donation".  Thank god for those potty mouth fools...we got a $60 donation from them.  The class teacher even put on a uniform for the day.  It was so cute watching the cameraman try to tape her as she giggled like a little school girl.  The camera man was a good sport and the kids yucked it up.

One of the lunch ladies donated $20 to the cause a few weeks ago and we recreated it for the camera.  I was not there, but they went to the lunch room while the kids were eating and called her over and she gave the money.

I thought it was really important that the kids see that their fun was really helping someone.  I arranged a Skype video call with Boi Pop Chan, the paralyzed girl, along with her family. We had it in a special classroom with a 60" monitor (gotta love Korean schools).  

At 1:30 the screen comes up and there is the girl, in a wheelchair, along with her mother, father and a translator.  What a powerful image.

It turned out the father spoke English very well.  The kids asked him a few questions and answers:
  • What are your dreams?  I only want to take care of my daughter.
  • What is most difficult for you?  We are refugees.  We live in a refugee camp.  We must get permission from the government to leave.  If my daughter has an emergency, we can not go to the hospital easily and she may die.
  • If your daughter got better, what would you do?  I am Hmong (pronounced Mon).  We have no land, we have no country, we have no rights.  I want freedom.  Until then, I would just work to help the Hmong people in the refugee camps.
As things wrapped up, The mother gave a beautiful smile, said her first words, "Thank You" the kids waved and said goodbye.  I was getting ready to close the window but decided to let it ride a second.  The mother got up not knowing I still had the video on, put her hand on her daughters' cheek and kissed the other. A remarkably touching moment.

The father spoke fast and with a strong accent, so I made notes and explained everything to the kids after the video call was finished.

I then asked them, "How do you feel?".  One said, "Sad" another "good", another "proud".  I told them my favorite Japanese saying, "lead a good life, so you can enjoy it a second time when you get old". I told them invest your money in things like new phones, or electronics and you will get momentary happiness.  Invest your time in doing good, and you can have long term happiness.

The final part of the day involved getting all the teachers who wore uniforms together with a bunch of students from the volunteer club in front of the school to say goodbye.

In the end, we raised almost $600 for the causes this term. The day was finished and I was thrilled and proud of the students.  I was appreciative of my colleagues.  I was exhausted.

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