As the team member from the School of Nursing, I want to introduce myself and share a bit about the trip. I am Jan Flournoy, assistant professor of Nursing, and I teach pediatrics. Working with kids was perfect for me, and the trip was a unique opportunity to get to know and to work with Maggie and the Allied Health students.
China was an experience of amazing hospitality and a wide array of food, which included recognizable meat and vegetables, as well as unknown items that required culinary bravery. There was always more than enough, and just when we thought the meal was complete, more dishes appeared. Some favorites were hot pot, where you cook at your table, lotus root, numerous pork dishes, veggies with peanuts, and ice cream bars. And we never used our forks; all mastered chop sticks.
During our time at Cedarnest, the parents and volunteers, as well as the children, were excited to play monkey in the middle, fly paper air, and blow bubbles as part of the rehab process. Using play as part of recovery is something we take for granted, and it is so needed in China. Also, we taught the children “Jesus Loves Me” in English, and later we learned it in Chinese. At the autism centers, Kameron and I did history and physicals, and numerous questions from parents led to health teaching opportunities. Also, at Changchun Children’s Hospital, I was asked to speak on pain assessment and neonatal care. Here and everywhere we went, we were so well received. I think Maggie has achieved “celebrity status” in her work in autism .
Our second city to visit was Qinhuangdao, a beautiful seaside city and vacation spot. We attended a church, where we participated in making dumplings (at half speed, next to the experienced ladies), and we worshipped with the believers. What a privilege to be in a land of numerous zealous, often first generation, believers. Also, our group taught on growth and development and autism to university students, and then we spent time visiting with the students and learning about each other.
We couldn’t leave China without climbing the giant steps of the Great Wall and visiting Beijing, including the Forbidden City and the Olympic sites from 2008. Beijing train station was the China I had imagined- a sea of hurried people going somewhere and doing something, just like us.
Traveling backwards in time, we arrived home all too quickly. I literally keep dreaming of China. Hopefully, we will renew relationships and work on old and new projects next year.