[Intern Report] Summer Holidays in Fukuoka

From August the 8th to 24th 2012, 16 children, in the age from 9 to 12, from Fukushima visited Fukuoka to spend their summer holidays here. The goal was to give them a great vacation and make them forget about the horrible things, which they had to endure during the last year. Groundwork Fukuoka members and students from the Fukuoka Education College participated as volunteers during the week.

The biggest part of the week we spent at the Camp “Genkainoie” in Munakata city. 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”, we met the mayor of the city of Munakata, and we cooked and ate your own curry and ice cream. Over all it`s safe to say that we had a lot of fun.

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However their also was time for the children to do their homework, which they had brought with them from Fukushima.

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All the children were so full of live and energy that it was a joy to watch them play. Even though my Japanese still isn`t very good, the children accepted me soon and it was a lot of fun playing with them. When playing with me the children`s favorite game was Tag. I pretended to be a Zombie and chased the screaming kids around the area. We played that game over and over and even when I was completely exhausted they screamed “Oniisan, Oniisan! Do the zombie again”!

It was such a great, but also very exhausting experience to spend the week with those children. So when I finally came back, I had to sleep an entire day to recover.

During the week all the children got into my heart and so when it was time to say goodbye it was a very sad a painful moment for me.

However over all it was a great time and all of us, adults and children had a lot of fun. 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!

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Written by Friedrich

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About the Himawari Foundation

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In the face of the disaster, Groundwork Fukuoka as created a system to ensure a trouble free flow of support. The Himawari Foundation has the goal to help the redevelopment of the disaster zone. Therefore we depend on further donations and hope for your future support.

 Thank you very much! 

Groundwork Fukuoka Himawari FoundationThe Bank of Fukuoka, LTD                             Sumiyoshi                                 Swift Code: FKBKJPJT                       Account number: 1440756                   Bank code: 0177233                   Reference: Fukuoka Himawari kikin

Memories of today ~ from local inhabitants

The chairman of the administration for disaster management in Tsuyaosawaku, Mr. Umeo Sugawara talked about the past events and up coming aid activities.

03.11.2011

  • At 02:46 p.m. a massive earthquake happend. Approximately 20 minutes later a huge tsunami hit the Tohoku area.
  • The designated shelter “Osawa center for a better life” was washed away.
  • After the Earthquake, the locals assembled at a square within the fishing Village. Everyone was completely soaked and had nothing left, but the cloth which they were wearing then. They were traumatized to the level that they had lost the ability to speak.

The aid activities of the administration for disaster management

  • Creation of the administration for disaster management by the support association of Tsuyaosawa in the center.
  • Since the shelter wasn`t fully authorized by the government first, it was difficult to get the necessary food supplies and information available to the inhabitants. Thanks to their negotiations, they finally got the authorization from the government.
  • In order to make it least stressful for the victims as possible, the method of distributions had been devised. Furthermore a form was created, in which the victims could list all the damage their property had suffered.

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The voice of the victims

Everybody, even those who were forced to evacuate, want to return to Oosawa. “At first we will take back the original Oosawa and then create a new Oosawa.

Column of the Himawari Foundation

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Immediately after the Earthquake Groundwork Fukuoka got some massage caring about their safety from their friends in and outside Japans. The 18 years long friendship with Groundwork Merthyr & Rhondda Cynon Taff (Great Britain) enabled an instant help. They set up a found for us to support the aid programs and founded a team with the task to coordinate the allocation of the aid money. Furthermore Groundwork M & RC organized charity events to collect money for the suffering people. As the Chairman of Groundwork M & RC Ms.Lynfa Phillips finally came toFukuokaon October 2011, she presented donations (sum 979,253 Yen). The team still exists today and continues with its efforts to accumulate donations.

(We, Groundwork Fukuoka are deeply grateful to all the help given by many volunteers for Himawari Foundation. The donations are used for the necessary aid programs in the disaster zone. However to ensure a long-time help the Himwari Foundation still depends on further help. Therefore please continue to support us in the future)

Activity report 4: The invitation of elementary school pupils (12.23. – 12.28.2011)

From the12.23.2011 to 12.28.2011, 15 elementary school pupils (seven boys and eight girls; age 9 to 12 years) fromFukushimawere invited to spend their Christmas holidays inFukuoka.

The first question the children asked after they had left the plain was: “How high is the radiation level here?Those words let us notice, how important it was to make them forget about the past events and give them a chance of great holidays.

During their visit they got to know about traditional handwork and made a calendar out of dried flowers while they stayed in Kyukawaguchitei (it’s an old Japanese style house) in Joyo-town, Yame city.  Further they have visited the Dazaifu shrine and joined a sports event together with the seminar participants of a  pedagogical college.

The main event has been the Christmas party on the 12.24. In the “home of the fireflies and the stone bridge” the party was being prepared since the early morning.  Candles were crafted, cake was baked and the Christmas tale prepared by themselves. Meanwhile the children were also playing at the river Hoshino, which is close by. The smile on there little faces, while they were running around was heartwarming. The party started at 5 p.m. and the children celebrated together with the locals. Via Skype the girls and boys could speak with other children, who had flied from Fukushimato Chibaduring the same time. Afterwards the children could contact their parents via U-stream. Those said: “We are happy that you all seem so well. Please enjoy your time.”  Everybody was happy to speak with their loved ones in real time.

“We never want to go back to Fukushima!” said the children, when it was time to say goodbye heavy hearted

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The Christmas party in Joyo                            At Kachouma beach