An 8-day field trip during December 2009 to visit different places to collect local information and to take photos for the photo gallery. We’ve been to Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Newcastle, and Sheffield. Back to London, Limehouse and Chinatown were the highlights. These visits were vital to the project as we created history when tracing the history.

 

The weather started turning cold and when we reached the north, snow was chasing our mini-bus. But we had a lucky escape. When we returned to London, the big freeze arrived!! Daily meetings were carried out before the evening meal to review the day’s progress and to plan the next day’s schedule – No Meeting No Meal!

This project was really “cool” – when we needed to conduct outdoor activities, most of the time temperature would drop to sub-zero degree Celsius. Icy roads, chilly winds, freezing rains, frozen fingers, trembling lips… we had to learn how to work with the Mother Nature!

Our team members displayed different talents. For example, the most common was the sleeping mode; it will automatically switch on when you get inside the car, and Haiping was the winner of this talent show. You can’t beat your speed with Aubrey; she can sleep until the last moment, finished her breakfast and be the first one waiting in the lounge. Kar is a born paparazzi, he only captures your most embarrassing moments.

For the team building exercises, we’ve decided to have a lucky draw every night to settle where to sit the next day on the bus when we went through half the journey (the particular game in which Kahfei cannot participate). We also needed a team song to motivate our sprits, so we picked one after singing hundreds.

Our team song: 河邊有隻羊, 羊邊有隻象, 象邊有隻馬騮精, 好似你咁樣… (大笨象, 大笨象, 食嘢亂咁搶… this version is provided by Ricky Law, the chief photographer)

- by Chungwen Li

 

After deciding the cities we were going to visit, based on our project manager’s pervious research, I found it really hard, other than Chinese restaurants, to find out the living and working traces of Chinese in many cities. I was very timid in making decisions and with limited time, I couldn’t dig deeper. On 12th Dec, 2009, with very brief and incomplete information gathered by me and other volunteers, the field-trip group set off. At first we were full of excitement, than frustration, but in the end, calm and optimistic. It was literally a journey to learn: I’ve learnt the advantages of having a local contact in a site: in-depth research and experienced tour guide; talking to strangers on phone is very scary, but I now have learnt that phone calls are more effective than writing; going to archives and museums can be very fruitful if searched towards the right direction. Also, by talking to people, conducting informal interviews, many unexpected clues emerged.

Due to the brief information we acquired prior to the trip, as well as the not very practical time arrangements, we couldn’t find anything useful in some cities. But we are improving day by day. At every evening’s meetings, we pointed out the insufficiencies of the plan and addressed solutions to amend it. In one occasion, I had to ask my friend to search the needed information online and send to me. From preparing the field trip, to find out the insufficiencies, than to draw lessons from those failures, I was improving myself through the whole process.

- by Haiping Niu

 

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