Manhu Wow'd by Prairie du Chien, WI

By Shigeyo Henriquez

Manhu arrived in Prairie du Chien late afternoon on Sunday, September 10th.

Shortly after settling in at the hotel we headed to the reception where we received a warm welcome by community members from the local school system, the city of Prairie du Chien, 3M, and Crossing Rivers Health which hosted the reception.

Group photo at the reception with the framed plaque

Mayor Dave Hemmer designated the week of September 19th as Manhu week and Manhu was presented a plaque.

Elementary school workshop

Spanish and Chinese languages are taught in Prairie du Chien Schools starting at Kindergarten. When we visited Ba Kennedy Elementary School the first group of students was kindergarteners. Joshua Dyer, translator, asked “Do you know how to say hello in Chinese?” not expecting the kindergarteners to respond in Chinese. The students all shouted “ni hao.” WOW! is what I heard from Manhu members.

Manhu was ready and prepared children songs for these kindergarteners. One song is about two tigers—one lost one eye and the other lost his tail in familiar melody of “Are you sleeping, Are you sleeping.” The students knew the song in Chinese and they all sang along. WOW again!!

Josh showed them the dance steps and they all danced to the music. It was the most amazing experience so far. And it’s only the second day in Prairie du Chien area.

Manhu in front of the Mississippi river boat

Wednesday afternoon after the morning workshop Christine Panka, Board member of Prairie du Chien Schools, and Terri Connell treated us to a boat ride for lunch on the Mississippi River. The boat captain explained to us the nature, history and industries of the river. We spotted a proud bald eagle on a tree top. A blue heron flew right over us. The boat captain loves this river and said there’s nothing else he would want to do.

Group photo at 3M

Our visit to 3M was great! We set up the sound systems in the cafeteria and performed a mini concert to the employees. Over 50 people came and enjoyed the show. As we pack up the instruments 3M gave us each a souvenir bag filled with 3M products, tapes, post-it notes, sponges etc. We will be using the tape right away on this tour.

High school workshop

The last workshop day in Prairie du Chien we visited PDC High School. Some of the students have been studying Mandarin since the third grade. They had written down some questions and one by one asked Manhu in Mandarin. Of course the answers were in Mandarin and most of them totally understood.

Watching high school marching band practice outside

For the last connection that day we went out to the football field and watched the marching band practice. Some of the Manhu members will attend the football game on Friday night. Marching band is an American High School tradition and I’m glad Manhu got to see it.

Feeding calves at a dairy farm

On our day off we visited Achenbach dairy farm. Awa and Alan showed such interest in the life, work and business of daily farm. Alan gave a calf a bottle of milk, Awa milked the cow. We enjoyed fresh, unpasteurized milk and it was tasty. Andy Chech gave us the tour and said he loves farm life and finds it rewarding

Most tourists and foreign visitors don’t have a chance to see mid America. Manhu and all artists for Arts Midwest World Fest can see the heartland of America. Who wouldn’t love this opportunity?


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