Thursday, 13 December 2012

Earthquakes, Snowball fights, & Humility

This past Friday, while we were preparing for the following days stress management program, there was an earthquake. We were on the 6th floor of the building so the quake was a lot scarier than it would have been on the ground floor. Besides being shaken up a bit we were alright.Thank you for your concerns.

Marian, a study abroad student from the Philippines, and I were in charge of the children’s program. We played dozens of games, made Christmas cards, Marian taught Tagalog (national language of the Philippines), and of course we played in the snowed that accumulated over the 48 hours.

I have learned never to start a snow ball fight with kids that actually get snow in the winter. Playing in the snow with these kids was slightly terrifying. I was also reminded about how humbling kids can be. Any time I spoke poor Japanese the kids were on the floor laughing at me. Maybe I should hangout with 7 and 8 year olds more often. They don't cut me any slack. Beside the occasional joke in my direction the kids were wonderful. 

One of the best things about the people I work with is that they love to share what they know about the world. There are also four nationalities represented in the office. So I get to learn about all the cultures and countries they come from. I learn about the problems that arise in those countries. For example why people leave their homes and go to a place where they don't know the culture, the language, or anyone there.

When I first came to japan I was under the impression that foreigners come here for work but that is not always the case. Many of the women we have encountered through this work originally came to Japan as mail-ordered brides. They chose that route in life because they had very few other choices. They came to Japan in hopes to have a better future, hopefully after marrying get a job to help support their family back in their countries. Once they get here they soon realize that it is harder than they expected. The husbands need a wife to take care of their ailing parents, or to bear their children or to take care of their households. There are also many cases of domestic abuse in these relationships. Sometimes they live in the country so they are completely isolated from people and are unable to leave the bad situations they are in.

Before the program  many of these foreign women did not know that there were others from their country living near by. They lacked support and community where they really needed it. That is part of the reason we have these stress management programs. Its not only to help them recover emotionally from the disaster but also for them to build a support system.  The more I am around these the more I am amazed their strength. 

Please keep these women and their families in your prayers. 

Thank you for tuning in,

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