It was Monday, Aug. 6th of the year 1945, when Hiroshima City was hit by “Little Boy”, a bomb that destroyed and devastated not only buildings and belongings but lives and futures of endless people. This time, World Campus – Japan Participants had the unique and once in a life time opportunity to meet a survivor from that horrible event. She was 14, in 9th grade and she shared her story, her pain and her forgiveness with us. She told us every detail of her experience. We heard everything from pain, burned bodies, skin hanging from people’s arms, dead left and right, friends asking for help, mothers crying for their babies, fathers looking for their families, “black rain” and people losing their mind. “…It was scary to see the condition of the people around me, everything was dust, darkness and destruction”…she said.
140.000 kids were left without families that day and her father died of cancer a year and a half after the bomb do to the radiation he was exposed to. She also explained that even today, there are people still suffering from the after effects, like herself who is suffering from stomach cancer.
That afternoon we had an eye opening experience, the facts were there but today there is nothing we can do to undo what happened in 1945. “… To honored my father and friends that died because of the atomic bomb, I am now committed for life, to talk about it to promote peace”.
Her acceptance of reality is deep and her passion to teach others about the importance of tolerance, understanding and peace around the world is what makes her stronger every day. It was something she will never be able to forget and for us, is now, a huge responsibility, to spread the message of hope and peace around our own circles, communities, cities and countries.
Hippo Club is a language club. Not one of those clubs where you go and try to learn a new language with no results… Hippo Club works!. Upon arrival in the city of Hiroshima, we were greeted by a woman that speaks about 7 or 8 languages. Again, she speaks the languages, not just hello, thank you and goodbye, she can speak the languages thanks to the Hippo Club, and there we were, feeling a little undereducated because we spoke only four, three, two or even just one language!
The World Campus – Japan participants had the chance to interact with the Hippo Family Club next morning; we played games, sang songs and had a great time speaking different languages, even the babies are learning a new language already. One of the babies couldn’t speak Japanese but greeted me in Spanish when I got there; I have to say, “It was pretty cool”. Hippo Club is not just an extra activity for a day or two a week, is definitely a lifestyle.
New day, new opportunities… in World Campus – Japan. This time we went to the Suizenji Gym, to learn about Kyudo (Japanese Archery) Our Sensei has been teaching Kyudo for many years, so, we were about to learn from the best. There is something he said that was very surprising to all of us; 90% of the points you can earn in a competition is based on your PRE shooting performance. Only 10% has to do with hitting the target. So literally, you could hit 100% of your targets and loose the competition if you don’t follow the PRE performance rules and procedures.
Once we were done with the theory we went on to try out our Kyudo abilities. One by one we were facing our own fear to let go of the string that holds the arrow while we pulled as hard as we could. I have to say, all this tension is happening very close to your right eye, you could feel the wind after letting it go.
In World Campus – Japan, as we’ve said in previous posts, we have amazing opportunities to learn “first hand” from the protagonists of the stories.
This morning we had a discussion about adoption, abortion and other related topics with the members of World Campus – Japan, of the community and LOC. I personally have a very clear idea of what I want and think, but it was very constructive to listen, debate and respect the opinions of the rest of the group.
The conversation followed a visit to Jikei Hospital, the only place in Japan that is using the system of a “stokes cradle” (A place where families can drop off their baby if they can’t or don’t want to take care of them). Once we got there we were introduced to the system, and it was nothing like I imagined. When in the morning we talked about “A BOX”, I didn’t think it was actually a box, but it is.
Once the family member opens the door of this very comfortable looking box, leaves the baby and closes the door, there is no way to open it again. Inside the box there is a note from the Hospital to the family member dropping off the baby. An alarm goes off for the nurses to know that a new baby has arrived. Families can always come back to the hospital to request their baby back, as long as they leave some information with the baby in the box.
How everything started. A Doctor from Jikei Hospital felt guilty about being in his position and not being able to prevent certain actions that were happening in Kumamoto (babies being left in garbage cans or being killed by their parents) His passion for a change was so strong that he started working on a system that would give those babies a second chance. He went to Germany, where the system was already in use and adapted the system to the Japanese society with an amazing success.
He is a living prove that Passion conquers all, and that one person can certainly make a difference in the world. In Hiroshima (next few posts) we for sure learned about the power of one person.
(Yoly Amaya from USA)
In Kumamoto, we had our World Campus – Japan – Arigato Event at the beginning of the week’s stay, which is not very usual. The energy was a little low because it was the first time we had to perform our Arigato Event at 2pm. We usually do it around 6pm or 7pm. Even so, we made it happen pulling together as a team like always. The energy started to grow and we got really excited to see our host families and some friends we met the day before, like our Noodle Making Sensei. She was so excited to have the opportunity to hang out with us in a different environment and so were we.
The Kumamoto Arigato Event ended up being one of the best arigato events EVER!!! and i am about to explain why. We decided to play a few games with the host families that attended the arigato event and not only we layed, we laughed so hard that it was almost painful 🙂 For the game, we had the host families find a partner to pop balloons with, we had about 60 to 75 balloons ready to get popped. We had one rule: “No Hands”. They took the instructions perfectly and balloons were popping up and down, soooo funny!. The positions, the screaming, the laughs of everyone… We just had a great time that afternoon.
The second part of the Arigato Event was even more powerful, the participants share all their energy and great vibe with their audience. That’s what the Arigato Event is all about: people coming together to prove the peace can be found among people from different cultures, backgrounds, countries and languages.