KuiXiang (literally, "Strong Taste") is the second school on my training tour of remote Middle Schools. It's quite a large one - 2000 students and 100 teachers. Half of the English teachers are new graduates, fresh from Teaching Colleges. Their spoken English is better than the more established teachers, and they have a real enthusiasm for teaching and improving themselves (which sadly fades with time).
This visit will stay with me for the surreal moment at lunch, when I was asked by one of the teachers, “Are you Jesus?”. I assumed I had misheard, but she spelled it out for me “Yes, Jesus, J-E-S-U-S”. I replied that no, I was "Paul". “Oh. Well I am Jesus!” she continued. Fortunately, another teacher spotted my bewildered expression and explained that she meant she was a Christian!
It turned out that three of the new teachers profess to be Christians - converts of their foreign “teacher” at College! I wonder how long their new faith will last, amidst the overwhelming religious apathy of China? Having said that, I was told that most of the Miao ethnic group in town are also Christian, having been converted by missionaries in the late 1800s! So, who knows? As you can see from the photo, I was persuaded to don traditional Miao clothes myself for a photo - a taste of things to come, with ethnic groups comprising 85% of JiangCheng’s population, the place where I will be based from this time next week.
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