It was a warm yet clear morning in May…”I am going to be in Beijing for the whole of August and I wondered if I could help MBL by taking out some books or other materials?” Surrounded by Chinese ceramics and seated in the oak-panelled club lounge of the China Investors Club’s head office in the City of London, William Franklin was speaking to the elegantly dressed Xiaoli about his up coming visit. William, the Founder of the China Investors Club had been a supporter of MBL since February 2015. Both he and Xiaoli were passionate about the helping MBL to help Chinese orphans and ‘left-behind’ children by building libraries. These libraries are to provide an educational environment as well as offer each child the chance to ‘escape’ into the magical world of reading where you can be instantly take yourself to another time, place or world.
五月，一个温暖的早晨。 “我打算一整个8月都呆在北京，不知我这次前去能否帮助MBL(Mothers bridge of love)带一点书籍给你们正在筹建的图书馆项目？” 身为中英投资俱乐部（CIC)成立者之一的William Franklin 如上所说，诚恳的表示他对母爱桥工作的支持。那天，母爱桥伦敦负责人肖莉女士身穿优雅的短裙，William和她坐在CIC（China Investor Club) 伦敦办事处里边嵌满橡木的咖啡厅里进行了短暂会面，并交流了下接下来去北京的行程。 William 作为CIC 的成立人员之一，自今年2月以来一直是MBL活动的支持者。他和肖莉同样也对贫困地区的图书馆建设充满了热情，此次北京之旅，带去的图书将成为输往贫困地区图书馆建设的一部分资源，提供给每一个孩童发现另外一个世界的机会。
A few short weeks later, William and Xiaoli arranged to meet as a package of children’s books had been prepared. The meeting took place in the same luxury surroundings of the China Investors Club and the moment was captured by an MBL volunteer called Chloe. While William joked that he would have to pack another suitcase in order to transport the vast quantities of brand new books to Beijing and onwards to Nanjing. The books had come from the energetic efforts of MBL volunteers during the London Book Fair in April 2015 who went round all the publishers at the end of the exhibition and asked for donations. On behalf of all those generous companies and individuals that donated the books and the team that collected them, thank you very much.
几周之后，William 和肖莉安排了一次书本移交会晤，地点选在了布置高雅的CIC伦敦总部，正式开始了CIC 与MBL 的慈善援助，同时到场的还有MBL 的志愿者-Chloe. 当时William他开玩笑的说他也许需要一个新的旅行箱重新装载如此浩大的书本数量从北京一直运送到到南京。这些书本均来自2015年4月 举办的伦敦书展由热情的志愿者们向各个参展商索要而来，在此MBL 深深向所有参与捐赠的书本厂商表示深深地敬意
After an overnight stay in Shanghai, William took the 07:05 fast train on Sunday 16th August to Nanjing. Coming out of the North entrance of the station, William took in the vast uncluttered view of Nanjing on a quiet Sunday morning and then saw the unbounded bubbly enthusiasm of Frank coming to greet him. While William and Frank both realised that their respective fluency of Chinese/English may present a small issue, the power of a smile, positive personalities and Pleko translator meant the two of them got on like a house on fire.
The first stop of the day was at the Nanjing Qinhuai District Children’s Palace where Zhuli greeted us for a tour of the facilities. Even though the students were not in class, it gave William the chance to see the facilities including the playgrounds, dance and music studios, calligraphy and art rooms and most important of all, the dedicated MBL centre. The brilliance of the flags from all nations, the postcards from around the world and at the entrance the Tree of Supporters that I was lucky enough to have the chance to support all gave a warm and cared for feeling. Next time William comes to Nanjing he is looking forward to reading to the class of children from one of the books he brought from England.
在上海过了一夜，8月16号这天William 赶着7点05分的快车从上海到了南京。从北站出来后，William 拍了张静而美的南京清晨照，正在此时，他望见热情洋溢的frank 正向他走来并向他大声打招呼。然而，他们彼此发现语言上并未能如愿的畅通交流，但是微笑的力量和乐观积极的性格让同行的翻译Pleko觉得他们其实在精神上已经聊得火热了。
当天首要的事情就是去南京秦淮区儿童之家参观，接待William的是朱莉，当时学生不在学校，她带着他参观了多种校资设备，包括了教室，操场，舞蹈音乐教室，书法和艺术教室，以及此次前来的重点MBL中心。在母爱桥南京中心， 无数鲜艳的各国国旗和来自五湖四海的明信片陈列在会展展厅，门口由母爱桥爱心人士一首“栽培”的爱心之树让William新生敬意，下一次到南京， William已经做好了打算下次要在课堂上给当地的孩子们读一本他从英国带过来的图书。
Zhuli, Frank and William then went to the small but well equipped MBL offices. Surrounded by mountains of books already packaged and ready for delivery to two MBL libraries, William formally handed over the books to Zhuli and Frank. He also handed over a special gift from London which was a print from 1830 representing an orphans hospital in Westminster which shows that irrespective of time and place, both the UK and China care about their children. Frank then handed William a gift of Chinese tea that was very well received.
After this exchange of gifts, Frank treated William to a traditional meal of Nanjing noodles and Nanjing dumplings. Delicious once William learnt how to eat them without causing a mess!
On returning to the MBL office we were then joined by Fiona and YaWei who proceeded to interview William about his involvement with MBL and his views on China during his trip. He then took part in placing official MBL stamps on the books before they were packed up for shipping to the rural libraries. They were then kind enough then to take William to the Nanjing museum that remembered all those that lost their lives in 1937. A very moving experience for all of us which reminded all of us about the sanctity of life. In order to show the other side of Nanjing, William was then taken to a traditional weekend festival where we enjoyed a very un-traditional sport of pillow fighting. Fiona, YaWei and William made such an impression to the organisers they were even captured by the official photographer and posted up onto the main promoters website.
朱莉，Frank和William 来到了精致玲珑的MBL小屋，里面已经堆积如山地放置了来自世界各地的捐赠书籍。 William在这里正式将远从英国带来的书本交给了朱莉和Frank, 同时William 还附赠了一份来自伦敦特殊的礼物，这是一张1830年的复印图片，画面上是威斯敏斯特孤儿院今夕的对比图，以及中英两国母亲对各自孩童的关爱，同样地，处于礼尚往来的习俗，Frank也还礼给William一份上好的中国茶叶。
在交换完礼物后，Frank 请William 下馆子吃了一次正宗的南京拉面和南京饺子，美味的当地特色让William赞不绝口，同时也让William学会了如何才能干净利索的把饺子吃干净。
饭后，回到MBL办公场所，同样作为MBL 志愿者的Fiona 和雅维邀请了William进行了简短的见面聊天聊解下此次中国访问的行程，随后，他和其他志愿者工作者一样，将MBL印章盖印在每本送往图书馆的书册里面。 接下去的行程，志愿者们还带着William到了南京博物馆去参观1937年迷失的南京记忆。具William自己描述，这是一段印象深刻的回忆，让我们知道了生命是不可侵犯的。 为了体验出不一样的南京风貌，William还受邀参加了传统的周末活动-枕头大战。这次的活动留给在场的Fiona， 雅维和William一个深刻的记忆，活动现场的图片也被摄影师抓拍下来并放在了活动官网。
The journey home
After a long day and incredible hospitality, the final act of kindness came when Frank drove William all the way to the airport for the flight back to Beijing. During the drive, Frank was able to explain the valuable work MBL had done in reuniting families from the West with the biological parents in China. While this service is not the core of MBL’s work, by showing care and compassion, all of those involved in the extended family were able to come together and share in the joy of a child growing into a happy and successful young adult. Frank also shared his vision for the next stage in the growth of MBL and will be sharing his plans over the coming months.
漫长的一天即将结束，受到热情款待的William 被frank 开车送往机场，赶赴接下来在北京的行程，在此匆忙结束了短暂的南京之旅。一路上，frank向William诉说了MBL 之前所做的伟大工作，其中包括了帮助西方领养家庭的中国孩童找到在中国的亲生父母。 然而MBL 的核心工作并不仅仅是怜爱和关怀收养儿童，从长远的角度上讲，MBL 通过两个家庭的结合提供收养孩童一个美妙的记忆，帮助他们更健康快乐的成长。 最后Frank和William分享了就MBL未来的发展计划。
William’s visit to Nanjing reinforced his support for MBL and the work going on both in China as well as in the UK. He learnt that packs of up to 8 books can be sent to Zhuli in Nanjing where they can be sent onto the schools. There is also the possibility that as new MBL libraries open up in China that exchange trips can be made with English schools to spread the work already started. The importance the Chinese government place on looking after their children is commendable and so if MBL can complement this programme in a localised way then the future certainly looks brighter for all those children left without the direct care of their parents and families.