As Published in the Lindsay Gazette:
Lindsay teacher to speak about China travels
By Carolyn Barbre / Lindsay Gazette
Photo by Carolyn Barbre / Lindsay Gazette
Standing in a huge railway station in Xi'an, china
in 1998, Lindsay native Kent Stinson found himself the only "foreigner" among
several thousand people. He was such an oddity that children
swarmed around him and pointed him out to their parents.
Stinson said the people seemed to be very poor, carrying
their few belongings in sacks, rather than suitcases. The friend
he had been visiting in Beijing said the people in the train station
were probably peasants who had come to the city to look for work.
"I knew I had skills and abilities I could use to help," Stinson
said, seated by his computer in his Lindsay home.
Stinson, who graduated from Lindsay High School in 1963,
has a Masters Degree in Education and a Doctorate in Counseling from
Biola University. He is currently teaching English as a Second Language
at Lindsay Adult School.
"Probably the number one demand in China is to learn
English from American teachers," he explained. "It was laid on
my heart that very day [in the train station] to do this."
Stinson will be giving a presentation about his travels
at Borders Book Store in Visalia from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday,
He said his interest in China stems from his service
years during the Vietnam War in 1968-70. although he never actually
went to Vietnam, Stinson was stationed in Okinawa and went to Hong
Kong on a visit. He said he stood at a guard post looking across
the border into Red China and remembers hoping that America and China
would become friendly so he could visit one day.
Stinson made his second trip in the summer of 1999 to
Wulumuqi, the capital of Xinjiang Autonomous Region to Western China, where
he spent two weeks. He said he encountered numerous minority groups
of Turkish and Mongolian extraction.
"I became deeply interested in Western China," he
Stinson returned to China in December, to Lanzhou
on the Yellow River. He visited the poor villages along the river
and took a lot of color slides. He was again besieged by a desire
China progress from a third world agricultural country to industrial
Upon his return home Stinson arranged to give a talk
and slide presentation at Borders Book Store in Visalia. He said
John Gong, in charge of Community Relations at Borders, suggested
he should write a book about his travels. Stinson self-published
a 101 page journal titled "A Journey In China Through the Eyes of
a Western Traveler," which can be purchased at Borders or ordered
through Stinson's web site.
The web site came about after Stinson partnered with
Dr. Tim Hart and set up a non-profit corporation. On Oct. 16,
2000 Travel China Roads was approved for nonprofit status for "the purpose
of teaching English as a second language, promoting cultural understanding
between China and the USA, and helping existing school programs in
the People's Republic of China," according to the "Travel China Roads" fall
Hart is a lawyer and professor at the College of
the Sequoias in Visalia. According to the "Travel China Roads," September
2000 brochure, "Dr. Hart also is a great writer and will play
a valuable role in the building of Travel China Roads."
Stinson's next trip to China will depart form San Francisco
on Dec. 17. He plans to visit universities in Shanghai and make more
Stinson has already signed up for a cultural exchange
trip next summer and is looking for credentialed teachers to join
him. Room and board will be provided but individuals must pay for
their own transportation.
Stinson said his December excursion will cost $1,300.
this includes roundtrip nonstop flights, 11 nights in the hotel and
breakfast each day.
He is currently at work on a longer book, "Travel
Anyone wishing to be on the Travel China Roads mailing
list can write Travel China Roads at P.O. Box 4371, Visalia,
93278, or write to Dr. Kent Stinson at 182 Bellah Ave., Lindsay,
93247, or contact him at his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please
note that this contact information has been changed since the
printing of this article.)
Stinson said that although there are a lot of people
becoming involved in teaching English in China, he considered
it a good opportunity for him because, he said, "I'm coming to
the end of my education career [retirement age]."
But with one-fifth of the world's population, or 1.3
billion people wanting to learn English, Stinson has a lot of work