On August 24th, Green Initiatives (GI) welcomed the first of six groups from Booking cares to help restore and regenerate the public space and local cultural heritage at the Lakeside Art Community (LAC).
The volunteer activity is part of the Booking cares volunteer program, which aims to contribute to the sustainable and healthy development of travel destinations and the sustainable development of the tourism industry. Inclusive growth, environment and cultural heritage, the three key areas for destination improvement in their volunteer program are also the focus of LAC.
Lakeside Art Community is a longtime partner of GI who pays great attention to the sustainable development of ecology and local culture, and advocate for the harmonious life style between human and nature. Due to the lack of funds to revive the centuries-old ancient house "Chengqing Tang", this volunteering activity is very important.
On the day of the event, volunteers took a cement boat rowed by local villagers, the slow movement of the water carried them to the island where the ancient house is located, during which time everything seemed to slow down.
Upon landing, the architecture slowly revealed itself against the backdrop of lush green. Volunteers followed the stone path into the building and listened to the community telling the story about the history and present situation of the house, as well as the plan to bring back life into this space. Under the guidance of two local carpenters, volunteers built bookshelves and gave our ‘spiritual home — books’ a new home. In this community shared space, we hope that people of any nationality and cultural background can find comfort and support.
During this activity, volunteers not only learned new skills, but were also impressed by the hard work and expertise of the carpenters.
In addition to carpentry work, they also helped clean up the surrounding environment of the nearby Qinglong temple, where local villages hold festival activities. It is also a space LAC uses to bring international and local art and culture together. Volunteers made contributions to the local community, and in return, the local villagers cooked them a delicious wholesome lunch.
Thanks to the efforts of the Booking cares team, the volunteers gained a great sense of value and have enjoyed the place.
We happened to read a sentimental writeup by one of the participants, which moved us so much that we decided to share an extract here after obtaining their consent.
"The old house is such a carrier for not only carrying the story of a family, but also carrying the current owner's vision for cultural protection, as well as the kindness of each visiting volunteer.”
"When we stepped into the house, we felt as if we have entered another world. The original wooden structure of the house, the beams and windows are all exquisitely carved with bird and animal patterns. There are seventy-two different kinds of small animals on the beams looking down gracefully on each visitor. The ceramic tile and roof are newly placed, this contrast of old and new is like our dialogue with predecessors in different time and space. Although we can hear the sound of waves from the lake, it seemed that even the sound of falling leaves will not be missed here. Chengqing Tang, if she has consciousness, must be neither servile nor overbearing."
"Does Chengqing Tang really need us to repair it? Yes, even if we can only help move a brick, it will reduce the labor of the workers, but more importantly, we are not the givers who repair this damaged house, but the ones who get repaired by the house.”
- Vera He, Booking cares
If you are interested in conducting similar team building activities or willing to support the Dianshan Lakeside Art Community (LAC), please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.