We are in the Ningxia Province, just south of Inner Mongolia.
We are in the town of Longde, which is in the southern tip of the Ningxia province just below Guyuan. Longde is a very small town with no major hotels. The village is located just 15 minutes outside of Longde. There are about 120 families (1000 people) living in the village.
We woke up and had a nice breakfast at the Jin family's home and then each of us packed a small bag in case we decided to stay the night at the village. Two taxis were waiting for us in front of the hospital to take us to the village. As we loaded up the taxis we noticed a crowd of people in white coats beginning to crowd around us. We assumed they were the colleagues of Gaoke and JuLian wanting to get a look at Christian. We were sitting in the taxi waiting for the driver, when the white coats started to multiply. They came up to our car window peering in with big smiles across their faces waving at Christian. That's when I told Christian, he should get out to greet them because it was obvious they wanted to meet him. I wondered how many of them remembered him when he was young and living with his birth parents.
It was an easy ride down one main highway and the village entrance was right on the highway. We drove down a dirt lane until it came to an end. As we were getting out of our taxis, the villagers began to set off fireworks to celebrate our arrival. There were crowds of people standing around watching and just one small camera crew (Henan TV). It was the same camera crew that we saw taping our arrival at Lanzhou Airport the day before.
Several people ran to Christian sobbing hysterically. One woman was so upset I thought she was going to collapse. I watched JuLian, Christian's birth mom comfort her and asked the guide who the lady was. It was Christian's aunt, the woman that helped raise him the first 7 years. It was incredibly emotional and took it's toll on all of us, but especially Christian. They were all so happy to see him, yet sad at the same time. He saw his cousins he grew up with, his great grandmother, many uncles and aunts.
Christian with his two aunts, uncle and the two cousins he grew up with thinking they were his siblings
Christian's aunt cried so hard almost the entire time we were there
Inside his Uncle's house many people crammed into this small room to get a chance to meet Christian
Village kids peaking in trying to get a look at Christian inside his uncle's home
Taking a tour of the village hand and hand with his cousins
We visited the school at the village that Christian attended. This man was Christian's pre-school teacher.
Here we are sitting on a Kang (traditional bed which is a cement slab with quilts on top for cushion. The Kang is heated underneath with straw to keep them warm. This is also where they eat. The table is placed on top of the kang. We had a traditional meal of dumplings, which was delicious. Pictured with us is his grandmother, who we call "Nai Nai." What a sweet woman!
There were many tears and finally after several hours the emotions got to Christian and he asked if we could leave. The mother bear that I am summoned the interpreter and said "Let's go!" Our interpreter looked a bit shocked and said "okay, but the family wants to take a photo of both families before you leave." So we did and then we grabbed our bags and piled into a van. The family and neighbors watched in tears as we pulled away. It was very sudden and I think they were surprised that we were not staying the night.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. -Psalm 119:28