The international students visiting from Hong Kong visited a nursing home on March 1, South Korea’s Independence Day.
Some random thoughts and observations:
* Magic Lady # 1: Molly Kim! She saw my message the day before asking for volunteer opportunities for the students. She sprung into action, making many phone calls trying to find a suitable location. We were on the phone until late at night trying to work out the logistics. That was in-between both of us working on other projects.
* Magic Lady #2: Eunkoo Lee! March 1 is a holiday in South Korea, but when I let her know what was going on, she rushed to join us! She is a genttle lady, so she was the perfect liasion for the visit to the nursing home.
* Magic Lady #3: Elaine Chan! She is the teacher leading the HK students here. Not everything has gone according to schedule, but she has been gracious, keeping the focus on getting as many volunteer opportunities as possible for the students while they are in South Korea.
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It seemed it would have been sad visiting the nursing home, but the way they greeted us, it was easy to feel welcome there. I guess because it is a holiday that the seniors there would have had just another day of watching TV and seeing the same staff. Instead, they had an energetic group of high school students from various countries visit, performing three different talent shows. Live and in person certainly must be better than changing channels.
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Of course I don’t know how they choose which residents to have there, I can only observe based on what I saw: about 15 women, 6 men segregated. The women were much more lively than the men. Of course, it could be that those men were hiding their real feelings. Some of the ladies, probably in their 80s, were waving at us when we entered their living area. They were applauding the best that they could when the students performed.
Here’s how inspiring it was to be there–when the students were singing, I recognized that it is possible to dance to Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” I mentioned it to Eunkoo Lee. The “shy lady” said she was willing, so we suddenly started swing dancing. Not very well, but the seniors seemed to enjoy the effort more than the actual performance…
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* If you know of any volunteer opportunities, it isn’t too late to book the students. They will be in Seoul until Friday, they will do whatever–tutor, clean, organize, move things.
* If you would like to visit the nursing home, it is near Chungmuro station exit 1. They have a shuttle bus that can pick people up. At some point I will organize at least one more group to visit, perhaps on another holiday.