FLAMINGO, FLAMINGO

…. Arriving to that school was very special. All the children were full of energy. They were playing, waving to us, laughing. Suddenly the bell rang for them to go back to the classrooms. At that moment we could see how discipline they were. In less than one minute they were all sitting down in their places.

Yanyun Kindergarten (preschool), a “yidi yuren” boarding preschool affiliated with primary school for children relocated of the Kashin-Beck disease
Yanyun Kindergarten (preschool), a “yidi yuren” boarding preschool affiliated with primary school for children relocated of the Kashin-Beck disease

We were invited to see the classrooms and the bedrooms of the children. Eight bunk beds in every room, and the coldness present everywhere. The children spend one or two weeks without seeing their parents. That was their home during all those days. For us very little, for them more than what their parents and even their sisters and brothers ever had. It was quite hard to think about how the parents voluntary accepted to be far away from the children so they can ensure a quality education for them.

Thanks to our UNICEF colleagues we also knew that some of these children were also affected by the Kasian Beck disease, an osteoarthritis affecting the bones. But the integration in the group was so natural that we could not realise ourselves. As our colleague Chen Xuefeng told us: “ what you see is what keeps them together, not what separates them”

After lunch, we went home to a Tibetan family,  who has their son in the school we just visited. They welcomed us with their best dresses and smiles. In the entrance of the house the Tibetan grandmothers were taking care of the smallest children and were very friendly. The family was really open and hospitable to us. They offered us tea in their living room, where a picture of the son was present in a very special way, as they could not see him during all the week. They answered very friendly to all our questions that needed to be translated twice: from English to mandarin and from mandarin to Tibetan. When we asked the father what level of education they wished for their son he replied totally convinced that he would like him to go to college! We were very surprised the he was so convinced!

When we left the house we were one ambassador less. FABLER BJÖRN (our soft toy bear ambassador) decided to stay there together with the smallest member of the family. Is there a better way to finish his trip than being in the arms of the ones giving the reason for this project?!

Our Teddy bear stays in China at the Sanchaba Village community (Tibetan child)
Our Teddy bear stays in China at the Sanchaba Village community (Tibetan child)

Again the dinner was full of colours and tastes that had nothing to do with our Chinese food concept: vegetables, tofu, sweet corn… Our progress with the chopsticks was incredible! After many cheers, kampeis, chinchins to give, thanking one another many times (Local government, UNICEF and IKEA), our hosts started to sing traditional songs. That meant ,of course, that they asked us to sing and dance our famous “flamingo” (flamenco): “Flamingo! Flamingo!” they said. We tried to distract them, singing a Nino Bravo song . (Macarena was out of our minds). But we did not succeed. Finally singing badly the only flamenco song we knew, we started dancing “sevillanas”. This will be remembered as the worst but funniest sevillanas in history.

Improving with the chopsticks - Lunch break!
Improving with the chopsticks - Lunch break!