Much of the staff were in anticipation all week, excited about the prospect of once again visiting the beautiful and scenic location that houses dozens of precious children, all whom ail from varying severities of blindness. The previous year, the ImmerQi team had visited the foster home to help with the season’s harvest. They had such a
n amazing time helping out around the farm that they decided to plan another trip.
It was an early start for all as the team clambered onto the coach, wearing their best ‘worst’ clothes that would undoubtedly be full of corn and muck by the end of the day. Accompanying ImmerQi on their trip was the McGraw Hill foundation, also eager to get to work on the farm and do their piece for charity.
The bus ride from central Beijing into the countryside was long and shaky, but not without its sing-a-longs and good cheer. All aboard where in high spirits as they looked forward to a day full of helping and harvesting! Upon arrival, the guests were given a detailed tour of the site, including an introduction to some of the staff, children and the interesting history behind the founding of the foster home. The main task of the day – the one that would require most of our time – was to harvest corn. One might expect that we spent all day in a field with scythes, chopping down and collecting corn cobs (I certainly anticipated that!), but this was not the case. The staff found themselves sitting amongst tens of thousands of corn cobs, a sea of yellow vegetables. The task was to strip each individual cob of its kernels; it didn’t particularly matter whether the kernels flew to the floor or over your shoulder, as long as they were off the cob, later to be swept up and shipped out. Staff struggled to discover the most effective method of stripping the cob. Some used bare cobs as shaving tools, some twisted with their hands and some took to bashing it against the wall! It surmised that the most effective method involved creating a bare strip down one side of the cob and twisting the remaining kernels off. That’s enough ‘corn science’, let’s move on!
After several hours of hard labor, all involved took a well earned lunch break. Everybody sat down on picnic blankets to enjoy an array of salads, meat-on-sticks, crisps and more, including the incredibly sneaky and cheeky golden retriever, who lived at the orphanage and managed to steal a few scraps of food when nobody was looking.
After lunch it was time to present the foster home with a gift. ImmerQi had managed to raise a whopping 14,000RMB, which was presented to a representative of the foster home in the form of an enormous comedy cheque. McGraw Hill also raised a significant sum for the foster home, 6,000RMB and also donated some practical gifts and toys for the children. After some heartfelt speeches and many photos, it was time to get back to work, peeling those cobs!
The evening was fast approaching and the staff began twisting their last cobs of the day. All were thoroughly exhausted after such tiresome work, but all the better for it. It really does make one think about and appreciate the hard work and effort some people put into their jobs, which often goes unnoticed.
The team building event was a great success. Not only did the staff have time to bond and socialize outside of a corporate atmosphere, but we managed to help out a local organization, help that is much needed and appreciated. Consider doing your piece for the community sometime soon, whether it’s volunteering at a home, working on a farm, recycling your old clothes or even just buying produce locally, if we all chip in and make the effort, we can make tomorrow brighter! Find happiness through helping!