For days and weeks the shaking continued – one large quake after another. We were
all frazzled and on edge. There was no gas and very little food – even in Tokyo.
It taught us all a lesson about
being prepared for emergencies.
We’ve had innumerable strong
aftershocks since then – although
they are further apart now. For
a couple of weeks it was every
few hours. Currently, we get a few
By the time we got home that first
night we knew that the tsunami
had washed away thousands
of people and left many more
homeless. Now, six months
later, we all live in the shadow of
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
The destruction will take years
to clean up and so many people
have lost their jobs. Farmers
can’t sell radiated crops, whole
factories were washed away,
the fisherman cannot fish in
waters filled with toxins and
radiation. Tourism is down
and production has taken a
In the midst of all this, we were looking for a specific group we could help.
Jamie Hall, an Iwate University professor, told Regent Mary Burkitt about a
kindergarten/nursery school – the Taro Hoikuen – which was washed away by
the tsunami, along with everything inside. They are now holding classes at a hotel
in Taro, an area of Miyako, but have no supplies or toys at all. Mary suggested
to all the members that helping these children might be the perfect project for
us. When asked, the encho-sensei (principal) suggested that they would be very
grateful for a set of large, colorful blocks for the children. Thanks to the generous
support of our associate members, the Sasebo Chapter was able to purchase the
blocks for the children. We plan to continue to help the children, as long as we are
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