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May 17, 2011 / Mika Riedel

5/5 Children’s Day

May 5th is Children’s Day! Today, we first went to Hirobuchi Elementary School to see how they’re doing and play with the kids.

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A kid who fixed a tear in his pants with packing tape 🙂

Those who previously had been sheltered at Ishinomaki Senshu University moved to Hirobuchi Elementary. The shelter at Hirobuchi asked us if we would come again, so we decided to pay them a visit. I have conflicting feelings about this. On one hand it makes me happy to feel needed, but at the same time it means that there are still lonely children out there.

When I arrived at Hirobuchi Elementary, the wind was a tad stronger than a breeze and there was just the right amount of sunlight shining down.

I called out to the kids on the playground and talked with them about various things while asking their name, grade, etc. When you first meet a child, just calling them by their name can win you friendship and trust points. After telling them my name, most of them called me by it (haha).

There were two or three kids in the schoolyard and the volunteer staff was split into two groups to deal with them. While we were playing with a ball, more people gradually started to trickle in: a parent and child came to join, as did some girls who hung out in a clay pipe on a hill in the playground. Another nonprofit came to join us so we played a dodgeball game. One of the people who came with the NPO was none other than Formula One racer Takuma Sato!

Eriko-chan, a 4th grader, fully utilized what the school had to offer: playing on the monkey bars, looking for killifish in the pond, searching for four-leaf clovers, collecting dandelions, and climbing trees.

I had met Eriko-chan before at Ishinomaki Senshu University, but it seemed to me like she was much more talkative today. It might just be because they’re used to Rainbow Crayons now, but I think it’s also because the conditions at the shelter have improved. The Hirobuchi district was not damaged by the tsunami and everyone seemed calm at the shelter. Each family was separated by a high wall made out of cardboard and everything seemed to be running well.

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If possible, I would love to go back and do some activities at Hirobuchi Elementary again!

Written by Kodomo Hinanjo Club on 5/5/2011.

Translated by Daniel Sunstrum on 5/17/2011.

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