_D-Starine (海豚星空号) is an NGO that is currently running the Working Dogs Program, which purchases pedigreed shepherding dogs to send to Tibetan herdsmen to increase pasturing efficiency as part of the NGO’s overall goals of disaster relief and community reconstruction. The following is a set of journal entries from the leader of D-Starine, Chris Yuan Yi, written during his most recent trip to deliver shepherding dogs to families in need. Learn more about D-Starine.
Here are some journal entries from our recent four-day expedition. The D-Starine logo always attracts people's attention, whether on the subway or the plane. The logo was originally intended just to represent unity and discipline, so I did not expect the logo to also play a role in advocacy...
January 12 – On a night flight from Shanghai to Chengdu, two flight attendants started a friendly conversation with me. Others who start talking with our team members usually start by asking, "What does the dolphin symbol mean?"
Answering their questions, I shared about the children in Sichuan and the Yushu dog. The flight attendants replied that at their home in Chengdu, it is hard to find people who want to participate in public service activities. We looked through a lot of photos on my computer, chatted some more, and even took a photo together in the plane. Before, I didn't have a very good impression of China Eastern Airlines, but this changed my views completely. Air stewardesses also have to work hard! I hope we can have an expedition together one day. I was pleased to share the story of D-Starine with them; it seems that people from all walks of life can understand and appreciate our story. We have to work harder and create a better platform to deliver our services.
_January 13 – Today, we ran some maintenance on our vehicle, and then obtained 14E74, Liu Yi, in addition to two other working dogs. There was a three-month-old Chocolate Labrador MM that we did not name. She had not taken a bath, so she smelled a little stinky.
_January 14 – In the evening, snow fell on the surrounding mountains. In 2008, a landslide killed 17 people. A stone marked the location, so we presented a yellow tulip to pay respect to the spirits. At night, I slept in a room with two dogs; I am still a stranger to them, but they managed to spend the night well.
_January 15 - We had a full work load today. MaJie took us to visit some children who are receiving care at GengDa and WoLong. In WoLong, we met a 24-year old Tibetan woman named HanMei. She suffered from a tumor in her spine, and had her first surgical operation to remove it last year. As a result, her family spent all of their savings, and they had no more money left for a necessary second operation. Before HanMei got sick with the tumor, she had been studying at a computer training school in the provincial capital, and she had big plans for her future. When we interviewed her, her speech was slurred due to the operation, and she cried from embarrassment. We discussed with her family through the translation of (Teacher) MaJie, and decided to take her into our Ark’s rescue plan. Even though children are the priority of the Dolphin Team, we also wanted to bring some hope and future to this person in need.
At noon we went to the Li family, next to the new Panda Center. The man of the house was blind in one eye. Their home overlooked the entire Panda base, and the land was very suitable for building a vacation resort. Unfortunately, the family didn’t have enough money, so they needed public investment to open a family hotel in order to achieve financial independence. This was in line with our goal of "community improvement" - to help construct suitable social enterprise, so that people like the Li family can pull themselves out of poverty.
It was getting dark, and I finally got to see the crescent moon. Since 2008, I had been in touch with a little girl with a single parent in GengDa. She had grown tall just in a few years, and was still very friendly. The new room in her family's house was now complete. At the end of the day, I didn't want to leave. I felt that here was my home, my people.
It is late night now, and our whole team of 5 people are working intensively in the hotel restaurant until midnight. Huang Huan was great! He carefully collected all the data that we gathered today, and wrote a very detailed journal record.
_Original Story by Chris Yuan Yi.
Edited by U.S. Intern Emily Cheng.
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