AFTER a busy, informative meeting, members of Mitford WI were introduced to our speaker for the month, Caroline Cockburn, who described her experiences of a year in China.
Caroline is a graduate in French and felt that she would also like to learn an ancient language, which was to be Mandarin, and live among the people for a year.
She had set herself a challenging task, but she soon had her audience enthralled with her enthusiasm and with the knowledge gained through travelling over large areas of this enormous country, meeting and mixing with the locals.
We were soon transported via excellent photographs and a stimulating commentary into an alien lifestyle.
Because those Chinese who live away from the main cities have rarely seen foreigners, wherever Caroline and her student friends went they attracted crowds of highly curious, but very polite followers, although their description of Europeans as “big noses” did seem somewhat less than courteous. However, their willingness to engage in conversation was a huge asset in helping to learn the language.
At the end of her talk, the members felt that they had only heard about a small part of the life, customs and country of China, and so all agreed that they would like her to return at a later date to add even more on the subject. She had indeed whetted our appetite to learn more about this fascinating country.