Wednesday, November 19


Shaxi town center

We arrived in Shaxi the other day, a village outside of Dali, Yunnan made up primarily of the Bai minority group. It was larger than I expected, though, with 4,000 families, and it's not as remote as I imagined. People still have cell phones, televisions, and electricity. It's beautifully preserved traditional architecture, which gives the town a very authentic feel. My homestay is in a traditional courtyard-style home, which is currently under construction. It looks like they're sticking with the traditional building style and methods, though it'll be interesting to see whether they choose to "modernize" their techniques at all.
The Bai language is only oral, and not written, so Han Chinese is taught in the schools. We'll be teaching at the village's one middle school, where 1,000 students go. Of these, about 75% continue on to high school or vocational school, though they must go elsewhere to a town that has these facilities. About 90 students each year enroll at college. We observed 7th and 8th grade English classes yesterday, and we'll be teaching the same ones today. The teachers, however, asked us not to teach our own agendas, as in Kunming, but want us to teach the lesson plan from the textbook.

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