A Special Salad
Red tomato, green cucumber, yellow banana... On the morning of April 4, in a pediatric ward of Tongji Hospital, a group of blonde- haired blue- eyed foreigners, both mothers and children, were working with Chinese child patients to make fruit salad.
“It is the Cold Food Festival in China today. It’s a tradition to shun cooked food and just eat cold food on this day. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. So we’re making a salad, a cold food in our country, and sharing the experience with the children.” said Ms. Joanna from America, “Making salad takes cooperation and effort, during which time the children are responsible for their duties within the team.”
With the help of the mothers, the children were busily washing tomatoes, peeling bananas, cutting apples, adding crème, and working together to make the first fruit salad of their life. At times, some of the more mischievous kids secretly ate the ingredients; which was quite a sight. Children are more likely to eat the salad they make themselves while they were feeling good.
Ms. Yao Ying, professor of Tongji Hospital suggested that diet management plays a key role in the treatment of pediatric kidney disease. Eating the right foods helps with the recovery process. On the contrary, eating the wrong foods leads to malnutrition and exacerbates the condition.
Accompanying children and playing with them are the most effective treatment for child patients. After sharing the salad, child patients played games with foreign children in the activity room while foreign mothers communicated with them via gesture. They burst into laughter and chased each other now and then. It is this kind of love that removes linguistic and cultural barriers.
Most child patients in Tongji Hospital suffer from some form of chronic disease. In September
2016, Tongji Hospital established a Future Children’s School. Its classrooms are placed in wards, and teachers are volunteers with hearts full of care. With the help of those teachers, children can read books, watch movies and play games together.
These volunteers are now living in Wuhan. They come from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Russia, and Brazil. Since 2013, they have been visiting hospitalized children in pediatric ward. Every year, Tongji Hospital presents children gifts and plays games with them. In the future, they will arrange regular English classes for them, in the hope of opening a window for them, through which the children would be able to witness different cultures. Translation: Lu Qiongyao)