All posts by Jessica Van Dyk

Free day in Hong Kong

Despite only having a few days to experience Hong Kong, we were given all of Monday to explore and find out what Hong Kong had to offer.  Many of us hiked or took the tram up to the top of Victoria Peak, a popular tourist attraction and the highest point in Hong Kong.  The air got noticeably cooler as we climbed, and we eventually found ourselves surrounded by clouds that unfortunately obscured much of the below valleys and city-scapes.  Others spent part of the afternoon hanging out at the beach and enjoying Hong Kong at sea level.

It was altogether an enjoyable and exciting day, and we all had a lot of fun (atleast I did).

-Stefan Granner


Top of Victoria Peak
Top of Victoria Peak
A view of Below
A view of Below
Gazebo Pic
Gazebo Pic

Stella Footwear and crossing borders

After a long day of church and travel yesterday, we were ready to get on the road and see more of what China had to offer. After a short bus ride, we made it to Stella footwear. We met with Jason and Rock and they answered our questions, told us about the company, and gave us a tour of their factory. When we got there a lot of us (mostly the guys, since this is a footwear company after all) were a little weary about listening to someone talk about shoes for a couple hours. But after hearing their input and seeing the factory, few of us came out of the tour without smile on our faces and interesting topics to continue Perdue. At one point a couple of the engineers were even discussing how to better equip the factory with machines that would help the process go faster.
The factory tour was not as most of us expected as well. Personally I thought that most of it would be automated with few workers doing the physical labor, but I was very wrong. I think this might be the most labor intensive factory we’ve visited and I have a whole new respect for the shoe industry as a whole.
We were then treated to an amazing lunch by our Stella host and will soon be on our way to Hong Kong! I know all of us are excited for a day of exploring tomorrow. As of right now we all got through customs and will soon be on our way! Hong Kong here we come 🙂
Although I’m not ready for snow (as in sure most of us are) it will be nice to be home in just too short days.


Throwback Thursday

This is Stefan Granner adding a few more thoughts and observations by way of reminder about our experience this past Thursday visiting two major manufacturing plants in southern China. January 15 was an action-packed day, beginning with an expedient continental breakfast and a morning meeting with representatives from Shanghai GM, a joint venture of General Motors and SAIC Motor. After brief introductions, we were taken on a tour through one of the company’s newest facilities, in which we were able to get a glimpse of the inner workings of this major automobile manufacturing plant. We saw Chinese laborers drilling components of the vehicles into place, completed chassis systems ready to be added to frames, detached car doors to which final touches were being set in place, and conveyor systems that helped the overall organization and functionality of the plant, among many other interesting pieces of machinery. All the while, our tour guide was telling us about various aspects of how the plant is able to run smoothly, as well as mentioning key production numbers that gave us a sense of the magnitude of the whole operation. The Cadillac XTS pictured below is one of many impressive cars manufactured on this site.


But no time to lose your breath yet. It was on to lunch and then a visit with Innotec, an inspirational manufacturing company that emphasizes the importance of community involvement, stewardship, and problem-solving creativity. It wasn’t just a bunch of idealistic stories and fancy wordplay that proved that the company truly had these qualities. They became clear through the many ways in which Innotec demonstrated them, most notably in the hiring of two disabled workers, one of which had lost a leg in a mining accident, the other of which had lost fingers on his left hand in a machine-related accident. Networking and dialoging with high-up managers such as Allen Tie from Innotec has been one of the most incredible experiences of this trip thus far. Listening to them and absorbing what they have to say was fun, informative, and interesting.

This trip will continue to bring surprises and opportunities, and we are all excited to see where it will take us next.

The bar was set high

This is Anna Zylema again being seen as Jessica because of Gmail, and this post is 1 day less late.

Today after we had a lecture on Chinese Christianity we got the first chance to dress up in our business clothes and speak with the man in charge of the Asia part the Vermeer company that is based out of Iowa. He started by showing us two quick videos on what the company does, then we went right into questions and answers. He answered specific questions on how they had to change specific products so they could sell better in the Chinese market verse the American market, his interesting life story on how he ended up where he is in business and in China, and challenges he has faced having to work in the Chinese market while remaining true to his faith and the values that come with it. Never once did he shy away from a question, and he was able to keep all of us with very different interests attentive for around three hours before he had to go.

The only let down was that they were moving their factory so it wasn’t quite ready for visitors to go and have a tour of it. Despite that, this was a meeting most of us will hopefully remember forever as well as the lessons he tried to emphasize so we could learn from his past successes and failures. I don’t really know what we all expected of these business meetings, but Vermeer really set the bar high.

We went to the zoo!




This post is a couple days late due to difficulties I’ve been having connecting to the internet, and this is also Anna Zylema instead of Jessica because Gmail isn’t working.

Today after church we had self-directed learning for the rest of the day. A group of 10 of us decided to take this time to go see the similarities and differences of American and Chinese zoos as well as all of the animals (mostly the pandas). It was interesting to compare this zoo to others I’ve been to in the past: which is quite a few because I’m kind of obsessed with animals. There were not a lot of similarities between all of the animal areas even when comparing the spaces for elephants and monkeys size wise. Some of the animals seemed stimulated, with plenty of room and all of the amenities it needs—giraffes, zebras, and smaller cage animals—while a few others seemed to be lacking one or more of them—a few of the pandas, elephants, and lions. Part the problem is probably because it’s winter so some of the animals can’t be outside, but it seems like a deeper issue of regulations that should be in place.

Even though it was a chilly day and a Monday, the zoo was quite busy; if you wanted to get a close up picture of a panda you needed to be willing to fight tooth and nail to get close enough to the window. There was a playground near the middle of the zoo called “Children’s Zoo” and we made the joke of how it could be considered an exhibit where you get to watch children in their natural habitat. Lately this has made me feel like we all could understand what it would be like to be in place of those animals during our experience in China so far. It’s not uncommon for people to video tape us as we walk by in our business attire or ask to take pictures with us. None of it is being rude or offensive; they’re just intrigued by something they don’t see every day just like we were when seeing these animals, and we both have the same reaction.