Stories Travel Information

Volunteering and Exploring in Shanghai

This morning I had my induction at the Shanghai Healing Home on the outskirts of the city. I arrived at the JinJing Road Metro station in good time, though I was not sure of what would happen after this point because the instructions were unclear. I didn’t know if I was going to be picked up by a mini bus or have to make my own way there in a taxi. I was really hoping for a pick up because the taxi drivers I’d ‘conversed’ with really did fill me with confidence that they knew where it was.

The poster I had been sent with directions referred to the opening of the new Orphanage building at the beginning of July and stated that there would be a pick up at 9:30am. This time came and went so I plucked for the taxi that looked most legitimate and between us, because this guy was helpful we hunted it down and I was 15 minutes late for the start of the induction. It didn’t matter too much because I got showed round by a helpful and kind American girl called Sara who has been volunteering there for four years. Between us and an interpreter we arranged some times for me to volunteer throughout the week as well booking a person who does the taxi services for the hospice to pick me up from the metro station on those days.

I am now ready to volunteer at a place which I have to say looks and feels loving and very well run. I discovered today that most of the children who end up in the Orphanage have Cleft Palate as well as few with other physical deformities like addition fingers or no ear. A couple have down syndrome. Most of the the children are treated for their Cleft Palate and are then adopted, usually by American families,  before they are 3 years old. There are two children older than three and they supported through school.

During the introduction it was stated that it cost £500 to keep each child at the orphanage plus there medication and any medical procedures etc. For example the Cleft Palate operation is generally around £700. Almost everybody there are volunteers and any money donated goes to the children and their care. So if you do want to donate at any point you can at the the Shanghai Healing Home website, I would suggest paying by bank card using Paypal to be extra secure. Ok I just thought I would mentioned it, I will only share this link at the end of posts about volunteering at the Orphanage.

From the induction I headed to Century Avenue in the Pudong district. It is a vast metropolitan area with some amazing views. I did however have to stop for a tea to readjust myself after the mornings activities.

The views were pretty amazing and being immersed in this megatropolis is a memory I will hold for along time especially looking up at the TV tower from its base.

From here I wanted to find the Centre for Spiritual Living in Shanghai because they have a few courses running whilst I am here and I would like to attend. The great news is that the centre is only a couple of metro stops from where I will be staying around the time of the courses.

Unfortunately it was closed, however I will email them to book in and now know exactly where it is. The area around the centre was a warren of lanes with market stalls. I love finding extra experiences like this!

What I learned today:

  1. To be grateful for all I have and have had. Life can deal us many different situations we just have to really appreciate the ones we are given and do the best we can with that hand.
  2. Two sayings have kept popping into my head all day – “This too shall pass” In times of struggle knowing it won’t last is of great help and in the good times to really appreciate that moment for that too moves on. The next saying is “Resist Nothing” resisting stops us from being the moment and causes everybody suffering as this buddhist quote by Katie Byron so nicely explains “I am lover of what is, not because I’m spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality.”. It is so true because how can we expect to create a better world for ourselves and others if we are not accepting the now as the foundation on which to build. I have just downloaded one of Katie Byrons’ books to read so I be having more thoughts on this over the next week or so. 🙂

By Mark

The areas of life I am most interested in are great design, the golden ratio, minimalism, Pareidolia (faces in everyday objects), micro living and finally I will be searching for remarkable human beings who use the power of their mind to achieve amazing effects.

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