When the alarm clock rang, we were already awake. The excitement to see the children and their families made it difficult for us to sleep.
We finished a typical Chinese breakfast and started with the brief meeting. We met seventeen people, who told us how the ABA district is developing the ECD program (Early Childhood Development), promoted by UNICEF to support childhood education.
After more than one hour driving through beautiful landscapes, pagoda and sacred temples we arrived at our first destination. Nice music took our attention and we discovered an school with 123 children dancing Tibetan dances. At this moment some of us joined them to enjoy with their smiles and share their energy.
When the lessons started again, we went to the Zhenjiangguan Township Kindergarden, the first stop in our agenda. At the first moment the children were quite distant in a very disciplinary way. Little by little we started to connect by playing together with the protagonists of this history. They invited us to participate in activities they were doing. At that moment we realised how they were working with recycled materials which reinforce their creativity in a very inspiring way. When we said goodbye and thank you, they gave us their nice works, but it was their beautiful faces that will stay forever in our hearts.
After lunch we continued going further into the mountains, following the river by the road that still shows reminders of the destruction of the earthquake in 2008. Taking advantage of the duration of that trip, we were asking lots of questions to our UNICEF colleagues. There are many interesting things to say in these short lines but we can tell you that Songpan is a very touristic area. The income comes mostly from tourism and from the herbs cultivated in the mountains that are used to make the traditional Chinese medicine and tea. These herbs grow in very remote areas where parents go with their smallest children and having to stay there several nights in a row. In this sense, schools like the one we were visiting next gain even more importance: a boarding school were children stay during the week.
IKEA Spain team.