A reflection session by volunteers for “Welcome Yap” Project in past two weeks was held in Waseda University in Tokyo in the evening of Friday, 23 March. Among eleven volunteers, eight persons and a videographer who had been with us almost the period joined the meeting.
They donated their time and money for the project heavily since the first meeting in last November accumulating meetings and site visits to identify the most ideal places for the Yapese students. All of activities of each day was organized by responsible team members of the day. One of volunteers was an IT engineer who took days off for this project and joined almost entire period.
During the meeting, they exchange comments and fanny stories during the time, watching photos of Yapese students during the project. Many commented they will come back to Yap to see students they spent time together this time.
The project was supported by so many students, families, ex-participants of ECOPLUS’s program in Yap, and organizations, like Keidanren Nature Reserve Fund, United Airlines, Patagonia, Minamiuonuma City Board of Education.
After the Yapese students gathered with their host families in the morning 18th March, they had a social gathering. We saw their big smiles in the pictures during homestay, so that we could immediately find they had a wonderful time. Also, Yapese students gave a presentation and introduced about Yap, and their host families listened carefully.
After that, they enjoyed making ice-cream by making good use of snow, and playing with snow. Then, they had a reflection session about these days, and shared their findings and thoughts from their own perspectives.
For dinner, they ate more than the first day. We kept laughing during dinner and seemed to get to know well each other through these eight days.夕食では初日より食べる量が増えていたり、笑いが絶えなかったり、8日間もの間一緒に過ごしてきたことを実感しました。
In the morning, the Yapese students visited Yabukami primary school and learned Japanese traditional games and calligraphy from the school children. The Yapese students had an opportunity to give a presentation about Yap to the students and enjoyed school lunch for the first time.
In the afternoon, the Yapese students experienced Japanese traditional rope making and handicrafts with straws. Since Yap has similar tradition to make ropes, they did well. They had opportunities to introduce Yapese culture such as making ropes with the fiber of coconuts, as well as splitting coconuts.
After the fruitful day, the Yapese students left for another homestay in Niigata.
After farewell to the host family, We left Tokyo to Niigata. We shared the precious memory of a fun homestay and the feeling of expectation for the first snow in the bus.
After the Kanetsu tunnel, the snowy landscape showed up.The beautiful scenery took our breath away.
In Niigata, the local high school students came to meet us. We shared our own culture and the problems what we have each other.
In the evening we walked around the snow. We enjoyed the snow by throwing the snow balls each other and drinking the water from the melting snow.For dinner we ate local cuisines and self-made miso-soup and rice, After the dinner, we went out again and tried to make snow-candles. All of us made our original snow candles.
Seven students and two chaperons fro Yap island, Micronesia, have arrived at Tokyo in the morning of Sunday, 11 March and were greeted by Japanese young volunteers. The students will stay in Japan for 10 days to learn about environment, like garbage and waste water issues in Tokyo and in rural area.
The study tour was organized by ECOPLUS, a non-profit organization based in Japan, with the support of Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund, United Airlines, Patagonia Japan and other organizations and citizens.
They departed Yap in the very early morning of the day and changed the plane in Guam. When they reached to the Tokyo international airport, 14 young Japanese were waiting for them. The temperature in Tokyo was like 10 C or 50 F. Many of students were saying it was a bit cold. They were given warm jackets and ride on the bus to the Tokyo Central Youth Hostel.
After checking in to the youth hostel, they took a walk around the area to observe the difference and similarities between Japan and Yap.
Professor NAKANO Kazunori of Nihon University joined them at 3:30 pm and gave then a hands-on lecture how to manage the quality of waste water from houses. They got sample water from the river next to the hostel and did experiments to filter those water through gravels, sand, and charcoal.
It was quite dense and long day for Yapese students but they were still so excited.