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Part 2: in Jining, the program begins

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Amity's 20th Anniversary Celebration
Part 2: Lin Cang and Nanjing

From the subtropical mysterious mountains that sheltered the Wa people villages, we headed toward a more urban environment that sheltered temptations which imprison people and learned about Amity's efforts to spread information on the prevention of HIV/AIDS, and about the government's efforts to rehabilitate victims and to help them and their families.

Because this area abuts Myanmar, it is a conduit for illegal drugs coming into China on the way to vulnerable Chinese cities, but also to the outside world. This places young men and women in this area at particular risk because of its proximity and availability.

Our first stop was at a church, where we learned that Amity had enlisted churches throughout Yunnan as sources of education and also compassion. This church used a TV and DVD player provided by Amity to show HIV/AIDS prevention materials after worship services. They also visit victims of this disease, providing encouragement and comfort.

Visiting home of victim.JPG (452343 bytes)    Home of victim.JPG (355098 bytes)
Amazing Grace.JPG (440076 bytes)    Sidewalk billboard.JPG (391590 bytes)

That evening, we had the inevitable banquet. The Chinese hosts enjoyed singing and encouraged us to sing, so Kent led the group in singing "Amazing Grace." The next day, we visited the government office whose responsibility it is to oversee the HIV/AIDS education. We learned that they had a plan to involve every government bureau in this effort. They also place announcements in public places, such as information boards along the street.

We then visited a detoxification center where persons who are caught using illegal drugs are taken for rehabilitation. A visit to this place a few years ago made such an impression on an Amity executive that she was determined to do something to improve the lives of these people and to prevent others from falling victim to this terrible addiction and risk of disease. She then launched Amity's HIV/AIDS education program. Among the results: the incoming inmates now have mattresses on the floor, whereas before, they only slept on concrete. Inmates who have progressed to the regular facility have fairly decent dormitory conditions, with bunk beds. This facility, like many such institutions, has some farming operations in order to defray the cost, and to give detainees some useful skills.

Raising pigs.JPG (394033 bytes)    Sacking corn.JPG (426532 bytes)
Jamming.JPG (432950 bytes)    Jamming 2.JPG (433438 bytes)

After an introduction, we were given a tour of the facility and treated to a concert by a lively band composed of detainees. After lunch on the grounds, some of our guys couldn't resist hitting the drums and guitars, in a display of togetherness and friendship. That afternoon, we went to a center that Amity sometimes uses as a venue for awareness concerts, drawing a crowd and then providing education, urging people to avoid those behaviors that put them at risk for developing HIV/AIDS. We were rewarded with examples of the kinds of entertainment used in this endeavor. We were as taken by the children as by anything else. The child below was not part of the show, but she determined to join it and refused to leave her spot at the center of attention.

The time came for us to return to Nanjing for the conference part of the anniversary celebration. The program included the obligatory speeches, including one made by me, as the representative Amity teacher. Ann and Kent and I took advantage of the time to recap what we had learned and to identify ways to extend the value and benefit of their having come. We had conferences with Amity personnel on possibilities and also talked about ways we could cooperate on a variety of projects.

Speaking on teaching.JPG (448890 bytes)    Back in NJ.JPG (509638 bytes)

The music that accompanied the requisite banquet was very special; it was provided by young people, now eighteen, who contracted polio as toddlers, due to a faulty vaccine. Amity and a European Christian aid agency have worked together to provide therapy and aid for these children through all these years. The music they played, on traditional Chinese musical instruments, was excellent and was received with great emotion. Wednesday, November 9, the guests dispersed to their homes, for further Amity consultation, to visit the new CCC headquarters in Shanghai, or for sightseeing in China. Everyone was very moved at the accomplishments of Amity Foundation over the past 20 years and we all look forward to great achievements in the future.