Donations to China Folk House Retreat
The China Folk House Retreat (CFHR) is an organization dedicated to fostering cultural and educational exchanges between the U.S. and China. They also strive to provide a site for spiritual reflection, experiential education, and environmental sustainability programs for students of all ages across the greater Washington, D.C. area. The organization is founded by Dr. John Flower and Dr. Pamela Leonard. In 2007, Dr. Flower left an Associate Professor position at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and joined the Sidwell Friends School as the director of Sidwell Friends School’s Chinese Studies Program. The Chinese Studies Program was the first program within the nation to study Chinese language and history. The program was endowed by Zeidman to memorialize their son John Zeidman, who passed away due to viral encephalitis during the Chinese study at the Peking Normal University in 1987. John believed that that Chinese-American relations would thrive if students began to study Chinese language, history, and culture in secondary school. Since joined the Chinese Studies Program, Dr. John has helped turn the Chinese study into an innovative experiential education program called “Bring China to the Student” that contrasts with the traditional way of “bringing the student to China”.
One of the CFHR’s projects is to preserve a farm house from the village of Cizhong (Yunnan) that would have been inundated by a dam on the headwaters of the Mekong River. The idea of moving the house to the U.S, was from a conversation between Dr. John Flower and the house owner Mr. Zhang back in 2014. The documentation, dismantling, and transportation of the house physical structures were completed in 2017. The house will be rebuilt at the Friends Wilderness Center in Jefferson County, West Virginia on a site near the Shenandoah River; this beautiful place has a similar agricultural landscape to Cizhong. Carpenters from Cizhong will be travelling to Jefferson County to help assemble the house in the same way as it was in the village of Cizhong.
The first time Mr. He heard about this story was in 2018. As Mr. He came to know more about this project, he found that the project operation is in line with the mission of Daofeng & Angela Foundation. The house is well-built and a typical one; however, the project is unusual and unique as it provides experiential education to the students and local volunteers as they participate in rebuilding the Chinese house and learn about Chinese architecture. The house encompasses the cultural elements from Tibet, Han, Bai and Naxi ethnics and represents the folkways and carriers of the Chinese culture. The house will “Bring China to Students and the Public.” The Daofeng & Angela Foundation will sponsor the project from 2019 to 2021 when it is completely built at the Friends Wilderness Center.
The farm house at Cizhong in Yunnan (left) and the farm house frame at the Friends Wilderness Center in Jefferson County, West Virginia (right). Pictures are provided by the China Folk House Retreat Organization.
Mr. and Mrs. He visited Dr. John Flower at the construction site.