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How briquettes made me appreciate my life more
Written by Andrew Ji | Published. 2018.10.25 20:07 | Count : 436
I’ve heard from my dad about how he had always used briquettes in his childhood to make himself warm in his house. I personally never understood the hardships that were gone through the process of warming up the house with briquettes. However I recently experienced this process and became able to come across the hardship of using briquettes.

Being in Key club, an organization in our school that volunteer within school, but also outside of school, I volunteered to deliver briquettes in a small town called Sanggaedong for the elders living in small houses and was in need of briquettes for the cold winter that was coming. This was the first volunteer work that I had signed up after joining key club this year. In this time of period where it was getting cold, I thought that learning more about briquettes would help me to appreciate the fact that I have heating systems in my apartment.

With this in mind, other key club members and I got on the bus early in the morning. The bus ride took about an hour and a half. Looking out the window on the way to Sanggaedong, I expected to see fewer apartments with narrow roads (if there were). However the view totally surprised me with apartments and roads that were full with cars and stores. The idea of volunteering for briquettes got me thinking about a place somewhere houses were poorly built, but in reality, it was not. When we got to our destination, and walked to the place where we were supposed to volunteer at, my expectations finally appeared to be true.

Our final destination was a place with narrow pathways with poorly built houses where majority of the elders were part of the villagers. It was unusual to me how there were apartments just in front of this poor village. It was like West Side Story where an invisible line had separated the poor area and the wealthy area. Although the apartments around the village were not the type of fancy apartment, it still conveyed that idea since the small village was so poorly built.
[The view of the village of Saggaedong | Photo credit: Andrew Ji]
Briquettes were heavier than what I expected them to weigh. I expected carrying a one liter soda bottle but actually carrying two at a time to different houses made me think of carrying watermelons. There were total of 1200 briquettes that were donating to six different houses in the village. By separating the group into half, we delivered 200 briquettes to two houses at each time. I learned that the elders in the village had to purchase the briquettes, carry it to their storage, and use it to stay warm, each time when they needed it. It was even hard for me to carry these briquettes over and over for a couple of hours but imagining how the elders had to repeat this routine to continually stay warm was an epiphany.
[Amount of briquettes that would keep two houses warm for two months
each. We had delivered two or three at a time which felt equivalent to
the weight of my school backpack 
Photo Credit: Andrew Ji]
Through this experience, I actually learned how it was hard to use briquettes and thanked how I could get heat by just pressing buttons. I realize as well that there would be people in much worse conditions that the elders in Sanggaedong; people without food, shelter, clothes, water, or other essentials for life. Life is not a given but definitely something that I should thank for.


Andrew Ji
10th grade
Gyeonggi Suwon International School

Andrew Ji  student_reporter@dherald.com

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  • Jason 2018-10-30 13:28:18

    Great narrative - looks like you had a meaningful experience... would love to see more of your feelings and insights though. The narrative is okay but to aim for a higher quality writing piece that is what you should include.   삭제

    • Matt C 2018-10-28 19:48:22

      This voluntary service shows the effort that you poured into helping others in our society. Furthermore, this article a viable reflection on the needs that people require, but I think that it would be even better if you were to add a more thorough explanation on your thoughts.   삭제

      • Jaehong Min 2018-10-27 21:23:11

        Doing service work can truly be a rewarding and eye-opening experience, and I think briquette carrying is one that exemplifies those qualities. Your article did a good job on talking about these aspects. It would have been even better if you included more about your reflections and thoughts!   삭제

        • Racbel Lee 2018-10-25 21:20:44

          As I read your article, I could empathize with your appreciation for our privilege in modern society with the technology that's offered! One tip would be to go over the grammar used in this article!   삭제

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