30th May 2015, Saturday, 6.30am, Singapore Changi Airport - while most of their peers were sound asleep on the first day of their mid-year school holidays, 11 Edenites were already up and about, eager to begin their adventure in unfamiliar territories away from home. Accompanied by 8 teachers, the students were selected to go on an inaugural five day Service Learning Trip to Beijing, China from 30th May to 3rd June 2015.
This service learning trip will provide the students with many opportunities to apply and generalize the skills learnt in school; in the domains of daily living skills and general vocation. Months of careful planning by the committee was done to ensure that students would have a meaningful and memorable experience. Parents were also roped in to familiarize their children with the trip schedule, routines and activities.
Students reported on time at Changi Airport and did a group check in. For some of the students, this was their very first time on an aeroplane!
Despite the long hours, the students were able to occupy themselves with the in-flight entertainment, food and personal items that they had brought along. The Singapore Airlines flight attendants were immensely helpful and caring in attending to the needs of the students and staff.
Upon reaching Beijing, the Edenites made their way to Hope Foster Home, their accommodation for the next four days. There, the students slept in yurts, something that cannot be found in Singapore. As the name suggests, Hope Foster Home is a facility that provides care and medical treatment for babies with surgically correctable deformities. At the Home, our Edenites cared for and played with the toddlers, and cleaned up areas in the home and at the playground. It was also where they put into practice skills such as making their own beds, cleaning up and managing their clothings and toiletries.
The Edenites also visited the many famous sights and sounds of Beijing. The Great Wall of China was one not to be missed. Many of our brave Edenites showed perseverance in climbing the long and steep famous wonder of the world. Another attraction that they visited was the Hong Qiao Tianle Toy Market, which the students thoroughly enjoyed, given the massive range of wholesale toys that were on sale. The students gladly picked toys of their choice and paid in renminbi! At the Beijing World Park, the Edenites filmed a special video showcasing a dance that they had learnt. Despite many takes at different spots, the students still gave their all during the filming.
In the evenings, the teachers guided the students with their daily reflections. Parents were kept updated on the daily activities through , and some communicated with their children through Facetime in the evenings.
On their final day at Hope Foster Home, Edenites put up a special dance performance and student Luo Mang played a beautiful piano piece. The toddlers and children were given toys that the students had brought along from Singapore.
Despite a four-hour flight delay at the airport, the students took the change in their stride. Long after returning to Singapore, this trip continues to be a favourite conversation piece among the students and with their teachers. Many have articulated their wish to be selected for the next overseas adventure!