Catherine Custalow MD PhD via Crowdrise
February 17, 2011
BENEFITING: CHINA EDUCATIONAL EXCHANGE INC
In 1984 and 1985, before I went to med school, I taught English at the Chongqing Institute of Architecture and Engineering in Chongqing, China, which is in Sichuan Province. I worked with China Educational Exchange as part of a teacher exchange program between the US and China. The program has now been renamed Mennonite Partners in China.
China Educational Exchange began in 1981, almost immediately after the reopening of China to the outside world, and I worked there in 1984-85. I joined the organization shortly after visiting my parents who were teaching at Sichuan Teacher's College in Chengdu, China (1981-1983). My parents, Jim and Doris Bomberger were the first teachers in the program.
Teachers in this exchange program spend a significant amount of time with their students and colleagues outside of the classroom and develop meaningful friendships through countless opportunities to connect with others in China. I believe these exchanges help to correct historical hurts and injustice and combat stereotypes and harmful prejudice. There is also an integrity in a “theology of presence,” which bears witness with sensitivity, cares deeply about others, is not passive but listens carefully and shares honestly one’s faith and self-understanding as opportunities arise.
I value the friendships I made while living and working in China. One of my students, Zhang Hongru, who is pictured here with me, is an award-winning architect of green and sustainable buildings, and his Eco-Office design won the first prize for China's National Green Building in 2005. The food in Sichuan Province is the best in the world, and I developed a particular fondness for the Chongqing Hot Pot (huo-guo) in which duck intestines, eel and other meats and vegetables are dipped like fondu into boiling, spicy oil until fully cooked.
Please join me in supporting the China Educational Change, Mennonite Partners in China. I can testify after my experience and that of other teachers over the years, that this is a fantastic organization, and it is made possible by your donations of money and volunteer service. Anything you can do for CEE will be gratefully received.
Catherine B. Custalow MD PhD