After arriving in Nanjing, we had a day to rest before starting our work with the Amity House of Blessings, a branch of Amity that works with people with a range of mental disorders. The branch’s goal is to help provide a small source of income and training that will open the students to more opportunities in their daily life by working on skills such as communication and hand-coordination.
During our time at the Amity House of Blessings, we helped monitor the students and worked with them to do the tasks given to them. Additionally, I got a bit of insight into how one place in China treats people with mental disorders. In this Branch of the House of Blessings, the staff have high expectations for the students, and thus treat them with the same manner of understanding as they might other students without mental disorders (i.e., if a student misbehaves, he or she is scolded and punished; but by the same token, the student is given many responsibilities and independence). From my experience in the States, the opposite is sometimes the case, where volunteers and staff treat their students with a lighter demeanor than they might otherwise. Of course, these are specific situations, and many different parts of the USA and China will work differently with people with varying mental disorders. Nonetheless, It was an interesting experience for me to reflect on and deconstruct some stereotypes while interacting with the local culture. In the end, it was a good experience before starting the next part of our program and heading off to different parts of the country!