“Letters from Across the Ocean: ‘You Are the Bravest People’”
“Love Knows No National Boundaries: Letters from High School Students in California Encourage Medical Professional in Hubei”
These are two of the headlines featured on popular Chinese news sites about an act of kindness that began as a classroom assignment in Min Larson’s Chinese 5 class. A few weeks ago, students in Min’s class wrote letters to Wu Ming, deputy head nurse of the emergency department of Xi'an Daxing Hospital. Her team was dispatched to Wuhan Union Medical College Hospital on February 5.
“Initially, we thought about the idea of doing a donation drive,” Min shared. “With air cancellations and other complications, we decided that writing letters would be a way we can show our support for the Chinese medical professionals.”
Not only did our students’ letters spread support throughout the medical professionals at Wuhan Union Medical College, the letters spread support throughout the entire region. Journalists stationed outside the hospital reporting about coronavirus got wind of the kindness our student had shared and published multiple news stories about it (click here and here for two of the stories).
In his letter, junior Jordan M. wrote, “When I see medical professionals such as you, I am filled with hope because I know that even in situations like this one, there will still be brave and loving people who are willing to provide medical services. Because of you, a lot of people are able to receive treatment; you are their angel.”
Dear Wu Ming: I am in high school in the United States. My parents and their families are from Hong Kong and I like Chinese culture and tradition very much, so seeing this outbreak has made me very sad. But when I see medical professionals such as you I am filled with hope because I know that even in situations like this one, there will still be brave and loving people who are willing to provide medical services. Even if your life is put on the line, you still choose to help other people. Your decision to risk your life during this horrible outbreak and go to Wuhan to save others was probably not an easy one to make, which is why I am very grateful for the things you do. Because of you, a lot of people are able to receive treatment; you are their angel.
— Jordan M., '21
Senior Steven R. wrote, “I really can’t imagine the bravery it took; you are humanity’s bravest people.”
Wu Ming and her team were so touched that the class received a letter from them, which was also shared in the news. “After reading the letters,” it began, “I felt your concern for us, felt your support for China's fight against the epidemic, felt the most innocent love of my friends, and this gave us great comfort and strength. Love knows no national boundaries, dear friends. May our friendship last forever and you have the opportunity to come to China.”
“I think it was important for us to show that there is support from around the world for people dealing with the coronavirus outbreak and the medical professionals helping them,” Jordan said. “Especially with the tensions between the US and China, I felt that expressing my support for the healthcare professionals really showed that regardless of politics people care about each other.”
Min is proud of what her students accomplished. “This letter-writing activity went beyond my expectations. I didn't know that it would create such a large impact. I'm happy that my students were able to use their Chinese skills to make a real difference.”