Monday, July 7, 2008

Day Nine

This is another of our “official” days, really official in the China that most of us imagine. A senior government official and his assistants meet with our delegation, which is led by a very striking, extremely intelligent national television personality. She's one of the official announcers for the Olympics, on the popular level of, shall we say, a Katie Couric -- but brilliant, and socially active. She has led the way for the development of help for the earthquake area. We’d met and spent some time together last week, and I’m honored that she likes me a lot. She has insisted that "Judiss," which is my Chinese name, and the one everyone calls me, be at this meeting.

We sit around a very large round table. Tea is poured quietly and constantly. There are ministers from the Education Department, the Health Department, their version of the Red Cross. Many people. There is much changing around of seats before the high government official enters.

The television anchor, Shen Bing, is so elegant and impresive in her grasp of what we're offering. She has the book I co-authored with Judith Acosta and apparently has read it.
She is so charming and I am so, well, blonde that there is an air of all of this being less solemn than one might expect. She says we are focusing on the children because they are the future, that they have a 3 or 5 year plan and that they want to do everything according to scientific rules (not my favorite part, but so far I'm still under the radar!). She says that with Verbal First Aid, you can help people emotional not only in a doctor's office but in the schools and out in the world and that's why it's important.

The official is not only in agreement with the plan, but has set everything in motion already, so it looks as though it's a go. I’m not sure what that means, but it’s seems good. Now it's all on Helena's shoulders, and she speaks up at the end (not usually done after a minister speaks) to say that this looks like self-interest, but that is where larger things begin and that this project may ultimately help the world. He nods and smiles, shakes my hand. I say thank you in Chinese and he asks if I speak it. I say no, that's all I know and he says, then this must have been boring for you! Helena thinks he's wonderful.

Everything here now seems to be about heart. It’s as if the earth cracked open, and then hearts opened. Shin Bing has her hand on her heart as she speaks and I'm certain that's what she's saying. They're talking about sister schools, about training teachers to be counselors, and more.

And I will try to write more later, but everything right now is hectic. I’ll be traveling home to the U.S. very soon.


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