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February 13, 2014 / Mika Riedel

The Power of a Smile

Hide-san’s report

Today, we held our activities at the Akebono Assembly Building in Ishinomaki.

I’d heard that they’d had a long period of wet weather caused by the recent typhoon, and it had apparently been raining all morning. This didn’t bode well for the rest of the day’s outlook and I wondered if it would continue to rain during our activities, however, by the time the children had arrived the sky had become clear and blue.

Even so, we chose not to go to Koyo primary school and remained in the assembly building instead.

At Natsukichi’s suggestion, we set up six tables, each with a different activity for the children to choose from, like building blocks, clay and Origami.

Due to the recent dismal weather, I’d expected the children to lose interest in playing indoors, but with such a range of activities available to them, every child was focused on what they had chosen to do.

Even the boys, who could usually be found running around outside, were engrossed in games of cards and dominoes. It was, in fact, the girls who chose to play jump rope and tag outdoors!

This success could be owing to the range of activities that the children had access to, however, the day simply would not have been possible without the involvement of the volunteer staff. Hailing from Tokyo, Sendai and Tochigi, they stayed with the children over the duration of the session. Each volunteer had an assigned child to watch over, ensuring that they were happy and having fun.

While we always try our best to keep the children engaged, I feel that through today’s one-to-one interaction, we were all able to become much closer.

Often the children become bored with what we provide for them and inevitably begin talking amongst themselves, eventually having to be dragged from the venue at the end of the day because they’re so busy chatting to their friends. Today’s session, on the other hand, concluded very differently. The words of Shigeki summed it up perfectly:

“The children were ready to go home at the end of the day because they were completely contented.”

At our upcoming events, I want to make the children as happy as possible. It would be wonderful if, when the children went home, they told their parents about the great time they’d had with the Nijiiro Crayons. I’ve realised that seeing the smiles on their faces makes me feel truly fulfilled.

Today’s volunteers were Ryo-san, Sho-san, Gucchi, Mitsuko, Hinomai, Fujiko, Hide, Sayabo, Kiyo-kun, Name-chan, Takku, Tsukapon, Enjin, Hoka-chan, Natsukichi, and Onchan-Shisho(Shigeki).

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 10/26/2013.

Translated by Ayako Hamada.

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