From April to October, 2012 I did an Internship at Groundwork Fukuoka. During that time I made lot`s great experience.
Some of the most memorable ones were the many times we went to Yame-City and planted sweet potatoes with the local people. Since I grew up in a big city (Berlin), I had no experience with field work at all. So planting potatoes and using all the tools was very special for me. The work was difficult and therefore I did dozens of mistakes, but the local people were all very kind and patient with me. Because I was not used to physical work, the next day my entire body always hurting a lot. But actually this pain was kind of nice, since it indicated the hard work I had done the day before.
Another very special experience was the one time we went to Hoshino village, in Yame city to assist with cleanup efforts after the flood disaster. We chose to help out with cleaning out a communal building. This communal building was where local women would meet and make different kinds of food such as jams and miso.. Inside in the storage rooms, they had barrels of miso that, unfortunately, had to be thrown out because of the water damage. It was very difficult because in some areas, the mud was pretty deep and difficult to wade through. The work was exhausting! Many volunteers came to help and at the end we all were covered in mud.
Overall, the clean-up efforts were very successful and I felt very satisfied because we were able to help those people, who had suffered under the flood.
However it is safe to say, that the most joyful and memorable time I had with Groundwork was the week we spent with children from Fukushima. Our goal was to give them a great summer holidays and make them forget about the horrible things, which they had to endure during the last year. During our time there we did a huge variety of funny activities. We went to the Fukuoka Marine Technology Center to make fish pastry “kamaboko”, and we cooked and ate your own curry and ice cream. Over all we had a lot of fun! All the children were so full of live and energy that it was a joy to watch them play. So far this week was by far the best time I had at Groundwork. And since there were so many great activates with Groundwork that means a lot!
I`m sure the many things I learned during my time at Groundwork will become very handy in my future. I had to read and translate many Japanese text and through that my Japanese skills improved a lot. Furthermore during the outdoor activities I got to meet and speak with many great Japanese people, and by doing so I learned to understand the Japanese way of thinking and made many new friends. When I come back to Japan in the future, I`m sure these things will proof very useful as well.
These 6 month at Groundwork were an amazing time. I`ve never done another Internship, where I would have meet so many great and awesome people. I definitely want to come back and meet everybody again.
Thanks so much for this wonderful half year.
Written by Friedrich