From Maine, USA to Beijing

There were eleven RCers (ten women, one man) from Maine who traveled to Beijing. Our group stayed in Beijing for two days before going to Huiarou where we stayed in apartments that will be used for Chinese people after the NGO Conference. The preparations and the work that went into the Conference was evident, from the way traffic was routed, to the huge flower arrangements. The Chinese were polite and kind. When asked where we were from and our response was "the United States, " it seemed that various cultures disappeared. I hung on to my label of indigenous and would state from which tribe I came. Being from the US stereotypically meant that one had money. On some level, I identified with the Chinese.

Huairou has a population of 100,000 and Beijing twelve million. Eight million people own and ride bikes in Beijing. They are ridden in a smooth unhurried pace. The lines of authority are well-defined and obeyed. The bond between workers was a welcome sight.

In Huiarou, women broke many silences and spoke in common terms, and we understood. A young woman from Africa who had been educated in New York was attempting to bring employment into her village that had no electricity or water. Many changes have to be made to allow every woman a life of unbrokenness. When diverse cultures listen to each other, identification of pain and oppression is similar, and sincere human bonds are formed. My friend from India said that she could not believe that our life experiences and our comment on them were so alike.

Mary Bassett
Perry, Maine, USA


Last modified: 2017-05-06 23:35:41-07