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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 each week.

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 huge hit.

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
financially able.
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