june 3rd and 4th, 2011:
Members of hearts for haragama went out to the Kindergarten in the height of summer to plant sunflowers in an adjacent field. The sunflowers, aside from being the most cheerful of all flowers, are intended to extract radiation from the soil.
may 9th, 2011:
Golden Week was a huge success for H4H! A group of us headed to Haragama, Soma early in the morning on May 3rd to join in a surprise beach wedding for Tsukasa and his beautiful bride, Liliana. The emotional ceremony that took place amongst tsunami debris was actually taped and aired on Fuji-TV! We all felt incredibly lucky to be a part of it. After the ceremony, Billy read a speech that he had written to Tsukasa and his family and presented his father (the president of Haragama Kindergarten) with an envelope filled with all of the money that was donated into our H4H bank account. Thank you to everyone that helped make that moment a very special one!
We left the beach around 11am and headed to a community center in Soma where we spent the afternoon playing with children and serving up Indian curry that was donated by our friend, Sharma Nana. There were over 100 people there that day and we all had an amazing time! We will post photos this week!
Throughout the rest of Golden Week, we made various trips back to the same community center in Soma to play with kids and help the members of the NPO that had organized the events. It was inspiring to meet so many people that had dedicated their time and energy to helping the relief efforts.
We hope everyone had as nice of a week as we did!
april 27th, 2011:
Hooray for Golden Week! We have a few consecutive national holidays coming up next week and we’re making plans for some trips to Soma. We withdrew the contents of our bank account and will be handing the donated money over to Tsukasa and his father, the president of Haragama Kindergarten this week! We’re very excited and thank you always for your support of H4H!
april 19th, 2011:
Over the weekend we made a trip out to Haragama for an Open Day which Tsukasa had organised. We played games, did face painting, made lunches and had lots of fun. We also used the opportunity to deliver more donated goods, such as clothes, food, toys and books.
april 12, 2011:
In the three days that our PayPal account has been active, we’ve already earned US$1,723 for the students of Haragama! Everyone has been incredibly generous so far! Thank you all so much!
april 10, 2011:
Our website’s logo is finally complete thanks to the hard work of current Niigata JET, Charles Montgomery and Marty Gubbins. Thanks a lot you guys!
april 9, 2011:
We met Tsukasa at his family’s kindergarten in the morning and dropped off three full cars worth of food, supplies, and goods with the help of Billy’s friend who owns a separate NPO. Tsukasa, never failing to impress us with his kindness, prepared a delicious curry lunch for us upon our arrival! In the afternoon, Billy’s friend helped us to deliver some goods to Minami Sanrikyu Cho in Iwate, while the rest of us went to an area in Soma that was absolutely devastated by the tsunami to help Tsukasa’s friend look for his parents’ bodies. It was an emotional day for all of us, but in the end we were glad we could be of service, even if just a bit.
april 8, 2011:
We are planning on driving out to Soma tomorrow morning before 9 am. This time around we are delivering one washing machine, one fridge, one weeks worth of food, and any other materials we can gather today!
april 6, 2011:
Wow, the donations have begun to roll in (thanks largely to the hard work of Billy McMichael)!
Just to name a few:
- A friend of Billy’s who runs an NPO in Japan has pledged to provide a weeks worth of food for Haragama Kindergarten. That equates to about 50,000 yen!
- Our good friend, Nana, a local business owner donated 60 kilograms of rice!
- Two international students donated a washing machine, refrigerator, and three rice cookers!
april 2, 2011:
Our first trip to Soma. After meeting Tsukasa, we drove around delivering ten or twelve large boxes of haramaki to the evacuation centres and nursing homes of Shinchi. The seven of us got together again that night and discussed how we could help Tsukasa and his school. Not long after, hearts for haragama was formed!