46. Zhang Yinyin (Naomi) – China

Zhang Yinyin with the host familyMy three weeks’ volunteering life in Horizon Lanka was an important experience in my life. This time I went to Horizon Lanka with my boyfriend Colin. He is good at teaching, so he helped me a lot about teaching kids.

My host was a 13 years old girl. Her name is Prabodha. She was really nice. Everything I needed there, she always said “come, come.” She kept looking at me. I can feel how much she likes me. Her innocent smile at the first night I met her, I will remember forever.

When I saw Horizon Lanka, it was small but so meaningful to local students. Students study English, computers, sports, dancing. Everything they learn there is really useful to their future. So when I taught there, that was a real challenge for me. Because I didn’t teach these many kids before. For the first class I wasn’t fully prepared. And I was told that I need to teach immediately. I was nervous, but I tried to use my entire mind to think how to teach, what to teach them. The things became clearer while i was teaching. That was not bad. The students listened to me. At least they learned some. At school, I taught English and computers to them. Dancing with them with the local music and dances are really awesome. Many students like dancing. I learned 2 songs and danced at the farewell party. That was really meaningful to me. Playing sports at the natural green playground when the sun was going down, which was a really happy time with them. Nanda always took us to some places to visit, ancient temples, ancient legend places, Wilpattu National Park. Unforgettable tree house place. Life there was colorful.

Every class I need to organize by myself. This was a good thing to me. I learned how to manage time and manage my class, I mean all ideas came from my own mind. That was a challenge and interesting. After that, i know how to think things by my own. That things I didn’t learn in China. Mostly do as what u have been told in China.

So here I want to say students are smart and talented. Some students learned computers a lot, So I suggest the volunteers who wanna come, you would better prepare more skilled English books, like how to do Photoshop, how to make videos, how to use MS Excel (more difficult.) About English teaching, Students know many English words, but they don’t know how to say in one sentence and their grammar is not too good. So i suggest that volunteers can bring some English learning tools, like pictures, games things. Students like reading, so can bring many small very simple English story books.

I was really glad I could live with the local people there, that’s what I look for while I travel, experienced local life, local culture, local people. The people there always smiled with us. The family i lived with was a woman who lived alone, Probadha’s aunt. Her husband died at civil war when their son was very young, and her son is at boxing school. Her family was affected by the war, she cried a lot every time she talked about her parents, husband. But she is so strong. She always showed me her family’s picture, her son when he was at school, her working pictures. She likes pictures. And she was really happy to teach me local language. I hope she can always smile. I can’t forget how sad she was when we left, she and Probodha’s mother cried a lot, they are really kind. The kind of feeling of love was priceless.

About living environment there, I think I can get used to. I think since we have come, let us stay and enjoy it, but remember to bring more toilet paper for yourself, haha. No worry, there are a lot fresh and cheap tropical fruits for you to eat.

I really love my life there. I learned a lot. I will better cherish the life I have now.

Zhang Yinyin (Naomi) – China

Girls dancing at Horizon Lanka
Girls dancing at Horizon Lanka
Zhang Yinyin with the host family
Zhang Yinyin with the host family
Zhang Yinyin's "Sri Lankan mum" Jeearani
Zhang Yinyin’s “Sri Lankan mum” Jeearani
Zhang Yinyin with the second host family
Zhang Yinyin with the second host family
Zhang Yinyin, Colin, students and the staff at Tantirimale
Zhang Yinyin, Colin, students and the staff at Tantirimale
Zhang Yinyin with the staff and the students of Horizon Lanka.
Zhang Yinyin with the staff and the students of Horizon Lanka.