Last weekend we made our third trip as a group out to Soma. This time we were accompanied by a few other foreigners who wanted to join in the festivities – which is exactly what they were! Tsukasa had organised a special ‘open day’ at Haragama Kindergarten in order to give his students at evacuation centres the chance to get out amongst friends and take their minds off things for a while. Word quickly spread amongst other junior school-aged kids in the centres and on the day we ended up with close to 60 students of all different ages – an amazing turnout!
We left as a group from Fukushima City at 7am and arrived in Haragama shortly after 8am with three cars literally overflowing with friendly foreigners and donations of clothing, books, toys and food supplies. We had also planned an Easter egg hunt, face painting, rice pounding to make mochi and other activities and games for the kids.
All of our activities were a huge success and the day went off without a hitch. Young and old alike had a great time; parents kindly helped to make lunches and then helped themselves to the donations they needed. We partied hard from 9am until after midday and promised to be back soon for more fun and games. Even our often-questionable Japanese language ability couldn’t stop us making friends!
According to some of the parents, Saturday was the first time they had seen their children laugh since the tsunami. Tsukasa and his father thanked us from the bottom of their hearts for simply helping to put some smiles on the faces of the students and their parents and we were all very moved by their comments. Speaking personally, the open day was the most constructive and positive thing I have done since March 11, and I’m sure everyone else was just as glad to be a part of such a hands-on event. Putting aside all the amazing donations we have received so far, simply being amongst so many loving people was so reassuring and only convinced us further that what we are doing is truly making a difference to the lives of the people of Soma.
Thank you all for your continued support!