Student Voice: Reflections on Guizhou Service Work

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With the recent completion of our Guizhou Community Service trip for students, developed in collaboration with CET Academic Programs, we were thrilled to receive a participating student‘s poems on their work during the trip.


The trip, which was organized around volunteer work, combines several short-term service opportunities culminating in a final, more time-intensive project. Students’ work focuses on the most pressing needs for most ethnic minority villages: education, health, water supply and waste treatment.

This particular group spent 5 days in Baigao Village and completed a water runoff trough for the village that will double duty as an irrigation channel.

The participant’s poems, below, recount their personal experiences during the trip:

We took a very long train ride

To China’s mountainous countryside.

And reached a village of rice and fog,

A thousand times better than Beijing smog.

Their language I hardly understand,

But I can help them by carrying sand.

All the way to the bottom we won’t stop,

And then we climb right back up to the top.

It may be hard work, but we’re with friends,

and it’s all worthwhile in the end.—

In this village it always rains,

And I currently have back pains.

Squelching through the mud is fun,

But I would rather see the sun.

Carrying sand is quite the work out,

But this is what building is all about.

Today the flowers are colorful and bright,

Glistening in the faint morning light.

All I want to do is rest for a while,

But instead I’ll keep climbing and try to smile.


In this village in the sky,

We’re preparing a large order of mud pie.

Adding concrete and sand in the right combination,

Gives my back quite a sensation.

Just add water and it’s done;

Stirring this gooey mess is kinda fun.

We have to make quite a lot;

Before I was cold, now I’m hot.

All working together it gets done fast;

We’re building something that’s gonna last.

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