On this project, too, the children firmly engraved the “aloha spirit” in their hearts.
The children were at the camp program on the North Shore. Several of the children had cooperated together and washed the camp tools that had gotten dirty. When asked if they were ok, they responded with the following.
“This kind of thing is really easy. At the time of the tsunami we had washed our things with the water from the puddles on the streets. That water was cold.”
“Yeah, yeah. If everyone does this together, it’s fun.”
This was the 3rd Rainbow for Japan Kids program. This educational program invites children from the disaster-stricken areas of Tohoku who have been hurt by the earthquake disaster to “extend the aloha spirit” to them. It has thus far welcomed and sent off 45 children. The 3rd project was held from March 18 to March 27, and 22 children from the prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima have visited Hawaii.
“When something good happens, I think of all the people that helped me in Hawaii, and I feel that I want to do my best.”
“Ever since the day of the earthquake disaster I didn’t like looking at my hometown, and I couldn’t imagine seeing a bright future. However, I experienced wonderful encounters in Hawaii and came to feel that we bear the future.”
These are the voices of children who participated in the 1st and 2nd Rainbow for Japan Kids projects. A mother of one of the children had this to say.
“When my daughter returned home, it seemed like many of the things that have accumulated in her heart had been released. It seemed like she has grown in both mind and body as her feelings and body which have been bundled up have become undone. From the time she was in elementary school she held the dream of becoming a nursery school teacher, but after completing the program in Hawaii, she said, “I do want to receive certification as a nursery school teacher, but I want to do work that will help a lot more people. I don’t know what kind of jobs are out there, but I would like to go out into the broad world and make use of my strength.” I believe that surely, this is the decision that she came to upon having met and interacted with many people in the program.”
The children in the 3rd program have, too, suffered great loss by the passing of loved ones as well as their homes having been completely or partially destroyed. Also, there are many families whose lives are still unstable after the earthquake disaster due to reasons such as fathers having lost their jobs. It isn’t difficult to imagine how much pain the adolescent children are suffering in their hearts.
This time, the children experienced many things such as the island of Hawaii, camping on the North Shore, dolphin watching at Kahala Hotel & Resort Oahu, an entertainment tour at the Royal Hawaiian Center, handcrafting a ukulele at KoAloha Ukulele, a Hawaiian culture experience on the island of Hawaii, and touring the cargo planes at Hickam Air Force Base. The children also interacted with various local children such as the students from Leilehua High School in Wahiawa as well as the children from Bridge Club Hawaii at Camp Erdman. What kind of “aloha” have they received, I wonder? We look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts after returning home.
The said project would not have been possible without everyone’s help. Please lend us your support.