The Kumamoto Earthquake Report 8:
Everyone has something to offer
May 7th 2016
In Aso City, where serious destruction took place by the Kumamoto earthquake, Aso YMCA training facility is serving as volunteer reception center for people coming from all over Japan. Around 8:30 every day, the place becomes full of energy with good-will volunteers (both YMCA and non-YMCA) who come to assist.
Among them, there was a YMCA team from Fukuoka, represented by 2 staff from Fukuoka YMCA, and 9 volunteer leaders, all classmates from the same university. Their name tag indicates unique nicknames like Marshmallow, Sabouret, Olaf, Milk, etc., which seem to be the nicknames they use in their YMCA work, and these are accompanied with cute illustrations on their name tags.
The task given to them was transportation of roofing tiles. These roofing tiles that fell on the ground are broken and scattered, and each is quite heavy. Under the sun with rising temperature during the day, the team collects these tiles into a container, which is then to be disposed at a designated place.
This is the first time they joined such volunteer work in the disaster hit areas, but they don’t seem to be amateurs; each of them is continuously thinking how their task can be more effective and efficient, with their every step of taking care of these roofing tiles. They complete each task with a smile, without any complaints. When the work was completed, the house owner came up to the team and said, “After the earthquake, in front of this collapsed house and livestock cage, we didn’t know what to do, and we want to thank you sincerely for coming here to help us”. The team replied bowing to show their full respect, “Thank you for hosting us!”
The work was probably not easy at all, particularly as this was their first time in disaster affected areas. The YMCA staff who led the team told us, “Usually, these student volunteers teach younger children how to spontaneously think and act, and it seems that they wanted to demonstrate this themselves. YMCA’s spirit of contributing to healthy growth of youngsters originates from such volunteering mind of ‘I want to do something for others’, so I believe there is clear link between what we do in YMCA camps and what they did here.”
After the work, we asked these volunteers about their impression of the day. One of them said, “My house is close to prefectural border with Kumamoto, and it shook quite heavily when the earthquake took place. Yes, I was worried while knowing there were so many aftershocks, but people here amazed and encouraged me with their energy and resilience.” The other also said, “Frankly, I didn’t know what little I can contribute, but I learnt that even a small step is a contribution to the people here. When I go back to Fukuoka, I want to share this with children that every step counts, and if there is a person in need, everyone has something to offer.”
The energy and good-will channeled by these volunteers seem to be pre-requisites for long journey of recovery and reconstruction of Kumamoto.
Name : The National Council of YMCAs of Japan
Address : 7 Honshio-cho Shinjuku-ku,Tokyo
Beneficiary Bank : THE BANK OF TOKYO-MITSUBISHI UFJ,LTD.
Branch Name : YOTSUYA BRANCH
Bank Address : 3-2-1 YOTSUYA SHINJUKU-KU TOKYO
Swift code : BOTKJPJT
Account Number : 051-0111494
The National Council of YMCAs of Japan and the Church World Service Japan are working together as partner for relief activities in Kumamoto Earthquake.
Interviewer: Yoko Yano
Photo taken by: Ryoji Inaba, YMCA Kumamoto
English translation: Takeshi Komino, CWS Japan
|Name||The National Council of YMCAs of JAPAN|