Estherville Rotarians Thursday heard firsthand about one woman's efforts to help Chinese people improve their English language skills.
Jody Dixon, paralegal with Pelzer Law Firm in Estherville, told of a trip her church group made this past June 5-19. Arriving in Hong Kong, the group traveled by ferry to the mainland.
One of the first things Dixon mentioned was that people traveling within China need visas in a country that has significantly loosened its strictures on its people - but remains communist.
As educators, the group volunteered its time for two weeks, working from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
On one trip, they drove up to six hours into villages where they found people who had never seen occidentals. What they found was a culture still embedded in the late 19th century, replete with water buffalo, lacking running water, indoor plumbing and electricity. They also found such traditions as ancestor worship and Buddhist temples.
Just as Chinese citizens, they were prevented from taking photos of police or government officials - to do so would only result in being detained and having their cameras seized.
Rotarians were curious about China's one-child policy - something the country seems to be loosening up on - as well as Chinese people eager to speak with native English speakers.
Unfortunately, with its rapid urban development, China is facing its share of pollution problems, Dixon said.