Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
-Julianne Jennings, M.A., TESOL Certified
In the far south-east corner of Guizhou province, Rongjiang is a land filled with mystery and wonder. Consisting of 20 townships, Rongjiang covers a total area of 3,315.8 square kilometers (2,060 mi.). Rongjiang has a sub-tropical monsoon climate with plentiful rainfall and a short frost season. Its weather is moderate: neither frigid in winters nor scorching in summers.
The ethnic minorities Dong, Miao, Shui and Yao make up 84.4% of the total population of 313,830 people. The town is genuinely old. Its origins can be traced back more than two thousand years. Today, most of its town/city walls are gone but a number of old buildings still stand, testifying to its former prestige. Along the Duliujiang River in Chejiang, stand thousands of old banyan trees. They've stood here since the Qing Dynasty, protecting the riverbanks and the Dong villages. Many small Dong villages are scattered along the waterway. Their wooden houses have sloping roofs that form beautiful geometric designs. About one thousand years ago, the ancestors of the Dong people moved from the lower reaches of the Yangtze River to Guizhou, southeast China. The ancestors of Zengcong built their tombs right close to the village. Even in another world they still maintain their tradition of hospitality.
Rongjiang is one of the poorest and underdeveloped regions in China. In 2000, ADP (Area Development Program) launched a massive development project targeting education, sanitation, economic development, as well as relief and rehabilitation work in townships including Ba Kai, Leli, Jihua and Xinghua town. Tourism plays a significant role to locals and those coming abroad. Its natural scenery and geography host attractions such as, Sunset River, Moon Mountain, Moon Tower, bullfighting, historic villages and watermelon, giving Rongjiang its unique identity.
Moon Mountain region is truly virgin soil. It is situated in the border region of three counties--Congjiang, Rongjiang and Sandu in the southeast of Guizhou. In this region live various minority tribes such as Miao, Zhuang, Shui and Dong, etc. They live in harmony with each other and with nature. The big mountains isolated these tribes from the outer world for thousands of years, keeping their traditions unchanged.
The mountain is very steep so that the road entering this region is difficult to travel. The green, thick primitive forests cover most of the mountain, but in some places, narrow-terraced rice fields extend from the foot to the peak, like steps to heaven.
Known as the "Thousand-House Dong Village", Chejiang village is the largest Dong village with the most enchanting scenery. It is one kilometer from Rongjiang. Like all Dong villages, it has a unique wooden gate at the village entrance where locals welcome and see off visitors and guests. Singing girls present visitors with bowls of wine before they pass through the gate. Visitors who cannot sing, or who fail to respond, have to drink more wine. It's only after drinking that visitors are qualified to become good friends with the Dong people.
"Marketing" is an important event/gathering, where young girls dress to impress. The girls wear their best clothes and dress up as beautiful as possible before going to the market. The market is an important social gathering place for the various minority groups. At the market the people meet friends and relatives and exchange important information to each other. Jiajiu and Guanghui are the two important market places in this region. The proverb "mountainis more high, the emperor is farther!" describe the geographic condition. And only in this isolated region the minority people can keep their own various kinds of colorful costume, customs and architecture.
Rongjiang No.1 High School
Built in 1940, the school was part of the government's educational reform. Nowadays, it is a famous high school in Guizhou province! There are more than 3,000 students and teachers, who study and work here. The school is equipped with modern teaching facilities like the library, multi-media classrooms, track and filed grounds, and more. I look forward to my first-year teaching appointment as an ESL instructor, starting August, 2014!
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