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May 8, 2011 / Mika Riedel

Her Smile

– Watanoha Elementary School –

Lala, a character from an entertainment company, came to see us! The kids were so happy about it.

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– Oshio Community Center –

Today the library room that they usually let us use became an examination room for dermatology, so we did Rainbow Crayons in the hallway. It was raining outside, so the kids blew bubbles, played with blocks, and drew pictures under the eaves of an inner courtyard. Later, other volunteers brought snacks and drinks, and they were doing nail art for the kids so they were really excited.

– Ishinomaki High School –

Some students from the Tohoku Institute of Technology came and put on a science show for us. The students showed us some experiments and had hands-on demonstrations. The kids could barely contain their excitement. They kept saying things like “Awesome!” and “Whoa!?” They had a lot of fun.

There was also a range of activities for the kids to choose from (playing cards, origami, making robots, etc.), and they had smiles on their face as they enjoyed the activities of their choice.

– Watanoha Elementary School –

After they played with Lala, the kids were having fun by tearing up various colors of paper. Huh? Just tearing it up, you say? You might not think so, but it’s actually quite fun. Kids are usually scolded for making a mess, but today was an exception. They really went wild with it. Some of them even punched and karate chopped the paper. The ripped pieces of paper, when thrown into the air, transformed into beautiful confetti. Everyone had fun throwing the paper together or at each other.

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– Mangokuura Junior High School –

Due to popular demand, we did the paper-tearing activity here, too. No matter where you go, everyone likes confetti.

Then we did “Imagine & Create”, which is where you make something on a sheet of drawing paper with the torn paper like a collage. The kids were full of imagination, depicting a snake, fish, and a face, to name a few.

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A volunteer, Katsumata, said: “Something wonderful happened today.”

There was a girl of about 3 years who came with her mother to play for the first time. At first she wouldn’t leave her mother’s side. I thought she might be a little bit nervous, but gradually she started to smile. Eventually she made friends with the other kids.

When they were leaving, her mother came to me and, with a happy face, she said, ‘You know, since the earthquake, she had never been able to leave my side.’ I was so happy to hear that.

There is nothing better than helping as many kids as possible to smile again by our activities. It doesn’t matter how tired I am; when I see a child’s smile, my fatigue suddenly disappears. That‘s when I feel really glad to have started doing this. Let’s keep trying to make kids smile with Rainbow Crayons!”

A comment from Kousei, a volunteer: “Sorry for not taking many pictures and videos lately. I just haven’t had much time to lately… Well, the reason I haven’t had time is because I’m playing with the kids. I’ll have a video for you next time!”

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Witten by Kodomo Hinanjo Club on 4/19/2011.

Translated by Showta Asano and Daniel Sunstrum on 5/7/2011.

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