This is Eddie Baran here. Matthew called me earlier today because he’s unable to get online from where he is in China today. So he asked me to him a favor and tell you about one of the experiences we had in China. I myself just returned from China along with Doug Doebler where we all had the time of our lives. On my own website, www.eddiebaran.com, I’m writing about some of these experiences. But I think the one I’m gonna share with you now is something very special.
On the second to last full day in China we were on Hainan island. Around 10 in the morning, Matthew told us we were going to visit one of the schools he opened up on Hainan island, the Matt Furey Hope School located in Yang Pu. He had not visited this school yet, and only had seen photos and videos. After a quick phone call from Matthew’s friend, the school immediately got things in order for his unexpected arrival. I think the pictures enclosed in this email will tell much of the story, but i will do my best to capture it in words as well.
When our van pulled up to the school, everyone got out except Matthew. he stood waiting as drums banged and symbols clashed and students sang “welcome.” All of us could feel the energy coming out of the car as Matthew sat there breathing deeply and concentrating. When he finally opened the door and got out it was like something out of a world from the past. This wasn’t a fellow American, this was a Chinese person. The person who got out of the car transcended nationality, race and culture.
He started to walk forward and was greeted by two student representatives who tied an auspicious red ribbon around his neck.
Matthew then proceeded to hand the school principal an envelope with money for the students, all of whom come from a very poor village. Before this new building was added there were room for only 80 students; now there are over 300 students. We went to visit all the students who were in their classrooms, waiting for him, after 4 p.m., far past the time school got out.
When Matthew strolled in to the room, they greeted him with a warm “Hello!” Then like something straight out of Good Morning Vietnam he gave them a loud “hello!”
He then asked “how are you?”
They repeated “how are you?”
Matthew yelled “I’m great,” to which they repeated “I’m great!”
Matthew then said “I look good, I sound great, feel my energy radiate,” a line he learned from his friend Lama Lar. The entire class repeated this.
Then Matthew began speaking extemporaneously in Chinese to them. He began telling stories about what his life was like when he was their age and continued to the present day. All in Chinese, Matthew told stories for next 20 minutes. I had no idea what he was saying but the kids sure did. They smiled, they laughed, and occasionally wiped a tear. This was an amazing sight to see. Very few people can relate to children at their level. It’s a difficult thing for most adults to do. Now imagine doing it in another language, in another country, in a completely different culture. I’ve seen Matthew speak to large groups of people for nearly 10 years but I’ve never seen anything like this. To call it masterful would be an understatement.
After we left the first class, we proceeded to the next and the next, until we visited every room in the school. Matthew spoke in Chinese the whole time. In the very last room we visited, when Matthew was finishing his talk, he made eye contact with a young boy seated three rows back to his right. He asked the boy what his name was. Then he told the boy, “You are especially smart and intelligent.” He walked towards him and asked him to write something on a piece of paper. Matthew had took a look at it, put his hand on the boy’s shoulder and began to tell him his future. None of us knew what was being said so we began taking photographs.
As we left the room we asked Matthew what he said to the boy. He said that he read his face and that the boy has a very bright future and will be a leader. At this point, Matthew’s brother-in-law said, “he already is. He’s one of the two student leaders.”
We then went down outside the building and took group photos when Matthew had the young boy on his right and the young girl leader on his left. After the photos Matthew asked the boy if he would allow him to do some work on his back and shoulders, as he said he told the boy that he has some problems. The boy agreed. Matthew got down into a catcher’s squat and the boy then lied across Matthew’s thighs. All of us watched as he realigned the boy’s torso.
After this, we took a few more photos and Matthew began to greet each of the school teachers one by one. When shaking hands and greeting two of them, he immediately began to praise them for their efforts, thanking them for how much they care about the students. I asked matthew how he knew who were the good teachers and who were not. He looked at me with one of those isn’t-it-obvious expressions and said “read the face. You can not hide your face.”
One of Matthew’s goals is to continue to open up schools like these, giving back to a world that has given him so much.
I will be sending this email to the Psycho-Cybernetic’s list as well and Matthew should be back with a report of his own in the very near future.
Wishing you the best,
P.S. Oh, and by the way, if you’d like to see some of Matthew’s recent photos in China, go here.