Last week was our first week doing interpretations at the panda base. We set up a stand out in the base with models of a panda skull, red panda skull, panda arm and a baby panda. We also have a few pictures including baby pandas and pandas holding bamboo. When people come up to the table we explain to them about the model bones and the pictures. We also try to answer any questions they may have. If we don’t know the answer we get them to write the question down on a postcard with their address so we can get the answer for them and send it to them. The first few days were hard because most people who came up to our table didn’t speak English. We only know the Chinese words for giant panda (dàxióngmāo meaning big bear cat) and red panda (xiǎoxióngmāo meaning little bear cat). We typically just point to the different skills and say the name in Chinese and let them look.
A few people came up to our table who spoke English. They would ask us a few questions about pandas but it normally turned into them asking why we are working at the panda base, this is a good Segway for us. It gives us the opportunity to talk about the one health initiative (onehealthinitiative.com). This initiative discusses the connection of the health of humans, environment and non-human animals. With this belief that all three are linked there will be an increase in the health for all parties. Sarah also gave us an article to read which talked about how the environment and social welfare need to be looked at together. They need to be observed together to allow for social welfare increase but not the increase of more environmental problems. This can be completed if everyone is given what they need to survive not what they want.
On Friday we went to a kindergarten to help with a presentation about red pandas. One of our Chinese colleagues talked about the red pandas and at the end of the presentation we taught the kids a few English words (bamboo, red panda, giant pandas, black and white). We also sang them a song about Red pandas and had hand motions that went along with it. The kids all followed along and sang the song with us but I do not think they knew what any of it meant. I think they really enjoyed it though and hopefully they will remember some of the English words we taught them.