"Included Migrant School"
We had the chance to visit and shoot some photos for a migrant school through a volunteer named Jonathan, who is renting a room from Anna's parents. This is a school for children whose families lack the proper documentation to live in Beijing, omitting their children from being included in the local school system. These families primarily move from rural areas to the city in search of more prosperous work (or work at all), but are unable to pay the fees or aqcuire the proper documentation for legal migration within the country. They migrate to the city for all kinds of reasons – they may have been layed off, factories may have been shut down or farmers and farm workers may have become obsolete as a result of new technology.
The school is entirely dependent on donations and all the teachers working here are volunteers, some are foreigners, but most are locals. The children here are high in spirit, friendly, funny, charming, and were, overall, such a pleasure to be around.
When we had first arrived it was hard to know what all the kids thought of us. Some would hide their faces and run away, but would quickly open up once I showed them what was going on with the camera. Others would run up saying, "lao shi!" (teacher) tugging at Anna's arm. One of the funniest thing I had happen though were kids trying to look through my ears. I would humor them and take out my gauges, which I'm sure freaked them out a bit, but it's something so strange you can't look away, right? To interact with these kids has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had. My only regret is not having more time to spend with them.
After our morning at the school, Anna's brother, Matt, had rented a car to drive us up north, to a place beyond the great wall. Where we were going was a boyscout campout, which Anna's youngest brother was a part of. There was food, there were badges, there was fire, all that good stuff. And as the sun started to set in the valley, we ended the night with skits performed by the scouts, and some good bonfire, coal tossing fun.