Monday, September 29, 2008

Professor Xu

We received word last week that our friend Professor Xu Hua died from a stroke. He was the chief organizer of several of the AIDS/HIV prevention workshops we attended in China. His title when we first met him was Secretary General of the China Foundation for Sexually Transmitted Infections and AIDS Prevention.

Our first workshop was in Jilin City, in the Northeastern part of the country. At one point we were taken to a citizen’s home who had AIDS. He got the disease because he gave blood to get a little money. After the plasma was extracted, the remaining blood was mixed with others and re-injected back into the donors so they could give blood again sooner. Professor Xu (pronounced Shoe) is to the right of Judith.

Professor Xu always posed for a photo with a sober face, but he smiled a lot. Here is a photo of him taken when he was not posing. We were in Dunhuang and after our camel ride we came to a restaurant that had a “band” and at various times we joined in either playing instruments or singing.

At the dais
When we were in Lanzhou Professor Xu particularly wanted his photo taken in front of the statue called “Mother Yellow River”.

He spoke excellent English although his accent took a while to incorporate into understanding, at least for me.

In Beijing we had lunch with him and his daughter and son-in-law. They have since moved to Canada as the son-in-law saw that his opportunities were better there. He was the one who told us of Xu’s death.

I don’t know how old Professor Xu was, but I believe he was older than me. Xu could eat. I saw Xu in a wide variety of locations eating all kind of different ethnic dishes. Never, ever saw him pass on anything. And he ate with so much enjoyment!

While it is not possible to discuss politics with the Chinese, we do know that Professor Xu lived through WWII, the communist takeover, the cultural revolution, and the Beijing Olympics. He was a fun, decent man. Good-by my friend.


GETkristiLOVE said...

That's sad.

The last photo is so great though. You should send it to his friends/coworkers/family.

dguzman said...

Sorry for the loss of your friend, Dad E. And that is a very cool picture, as GKL said.