Children from Jiaxian enjoy a visit to DDM

As part of a four-day trip organized by DDM Social Welfare and Charity Foundation (DDMSWCF), on August 14th DDM led fifty-seven (57) children from the Jiaxian District, a mountainous area in Kaohsiung, to visit the old streets and farmhouses in the countryside in Jinshan, New Taipei City to appreciate the scenic landscapes in the vicinity together.

The Abbot President of DDM, Venerable Guo Dong was present to assist in this trip. He considered that visiting the farmhouses and harvesting sweet potatoes would let the children experience the arduous work of farmers and learn to cherish natural resources. As part of this trip, the children were also able to enjoy the seasonal delicious oven-baked sweet potatoes.

The visit to Jinshan is part of a four-day trip organized by DDMSWCF to fulfill the wish of “making the home better” for children from Jiaxian. During the trip, the children visited popular attractions such as Ho-Feng Bicycle Path in Taichung, Lion’s Head Park and Old Street in Jinshan, Na-Luo Tribes and old towns in Hsinchu. Through activities like a cycling marathon, cooking dinner and sweeping the old alleys, they learnt to be grateful for the grace of the Earth, to recognize blessings and to continue the very warm hospitality of Taiwanese culture.

Besides sightseeing, DDM also arranged for local entrepreneurs to meet the children so that the children could be inspired by successful people. In Jinshan, local elementary school students served as tour guides to introduce the beauty of Jinshan for those from Jiaxian. Apart from that, the children from Jiaxian talked with local policemen to listen to their life experiences and had the opportunity to interview a second generation of entrepreneurs of local famous shops who had returned from big cities to their home town to succeed their parent’s business. The hope was that the children could take these experiences as models to learn.

The following are two participants’ feedback about the journey. An Aboriginal participant, Po-Chun Yieh, said he recognized the adage- “Recognizing blessings is the greatest happiness” when he was enjoying riding a bicycle – his best experience during this trip. Optimistic Zong-Ming Yang stated that DDM volunteers had, since he joined as a fourth-grader three years ago, helped everyone in the growing up process. As a mature child, he read the book “Treat Living and Death Happily”, written by the late Master Sheng Yen, and he said he understood the concept of “impermanence” after reading the book. It was the first time for him to visit the DDM World Center for Buddhist Education, and he carefully jotted the adage-“When the mind is not separate from circumstances, that is the function of wisdom” in his note book as his motto in life.

Finally, Ven. Chang Fa, the Vice Secretary-General of DDMSWCF which is the chief organizer of the event, said DDMSWCF has continually offered service and care to relieve the people who have been suffering from Typhoon Morakot since 2009. It has held camps for local students in winter and summer vacations, which are very popular among students and their parents. The theme of this activity was “Protect Our Home, Cultivate Our Youth” which is enthusiastically supported by the local community. By leading the children in visiting various towns, it is hoped that they can vow to love and protect their own environment. Before ending the activity, DDM will also invite the children to send postcards with words of warmth and blessings to their families.

(Translated by Tom Hsieh/Edited by DDM Australia Editing Team)

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