A father and son volunteer vacation in China

This spring, David Cohen took his 11 year old son Andrew to Beijing, China for 10 days. Inspired by Mark Solon, and organized through Globe Aware, David and Andrew worked in a school for the children of migrant workers who have no government services. David’s goal was for his son to experience more of the world and to learn how many others are not as fortunate as they are. “Mission accomplished,” relates David.

Globe Aware is pleased to share their daily observations, impressions and experiences while on their volunteer vacation in China:

Day 6

up again with the masses at the hotel at 530am. andrew was already up at 5, reading.

today is a tour day, it’s tuesday. we are going to the summer palace. marcus is coming to get us at 9am. we hang in bed until 7, reading, or whatever. at 7 we have breakfast, a croissant or some granola.

At the Summer palace

At the Summer palace

we go to the summer palace. the bus, then the subway for 75 minutes. amazing how huge the city is that there is a 75 minute subway. and there were more stops. once we get there, lots of walking, hard climbing, up then down, then up. down to the lake. beautiful.

we eat lunch near the lake. we buy Delaney (my daughter) a little gift.

we finish the walk by about 1pm. subway back, then bus – 2 hours from there to the hotel. andrew reads his kindle well on the subway. marcus sleeps, and i think or listen to music.

back at the hotel by 3. we are to rest until 6. this is my chance to really talk to andrew about the school. andrew wants to venture out on our own to the store down the street. i have been a little scared to go out there (it’s not a nice neighborhood) without marcus. but it’s 430 so we do it, and we buy ritz crackers, bread, pretzel sticks, and pringles all for like 2 dollars or something crazy. it’s crazy how cheap stuff is here. we make it back alive. both of us feel a little liberated by shopping on our own. nobody speaks english here – i mean zero. and everyone stares at us everywhere we go, especially andrew. foreigners are rare, but foreign kids with blue eyes take the cake, i guess.


Andrew exploring the Summer Palace


After our exciting store run.

at 6pm marcus comes to get us. andrew wants kfc again – he found chicken nuggets there that are good. but that’s 25 minutes by bus – a hard ask of marcus. so we don’t ask. marcus takes us across the street for chinese food (everything here is chinese food – there are no choices anywhere nearby). i ask for plain noodles for andrew, and marcus orders chou mein noodles and chicken kung pow. both are amazing. i eat the whole plate of noodles (getting good at chopsticks now). i eat a bunch of the chicken, which has peanuts and veggies. it’s very good. now i’m crushing it with chopsticks, picking up slipper peanuts or tiny pieces of vegetable with no issue. andrew is getting better at it too. he eats some of the noodles and a few pieces of chicken.

back in the room by 7. andrew reading now, will fall asleep in the net 30-60 minutes. good bonding with andrew today and lots of discussion about what he’s seeing.


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