HTIC Updates : Volunteering in Tohoku Japan
2012/12/3 14:39:04

On September 11, 2012, I went to Minamisanriku in Japan's Tohoku region to volunteer for three days in an area hard hit by the huge tsunami of March 11, 2012.

In Minamisanriku I stayed in temporary housing with five other young men who were about my age. Green weeds spread out across the land in front of our housing. It was a spectacular view, but I soon recognized that this was supposed to be a residential area. Houses, cars, trains, and people in this area were all swallowed up in an instant.

The survivors in Minamisanriku have not given up trying to move forward. One day, one of my friends and I visited a playground to play with the kids. These children were so energetic. It did not take any time to become friends with them. Their smiles and sounds of laughter made me smile and gave me energy. As I sat on a bench to take a rest for awhile, I recalled what their kindergarten teacher had said to me: “Kids can escape from nightmares while they are playing.” This quote has stuck with me. People can be reassured by others just by being listening to.

I did volunteer work for just three days, but I learned a lot from the people in Minamisanriku. They still have a long long way to go, however they keep moving forward in order to survive. Even though they live in a difficult situation, they never forget about showing gratitude to others.

This experience has been engraved in my heart and I want to tell my friends about what I learned through this volunteer work. I really appreciate all of the people who I met in Minamisanriku and the staff who worked at the Christian Center. Hang in there Minamisanriku, we are always with you.

by Ryota Takahashi, LA Student

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