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    Posted January 19, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Photo essays: Your stories in pictures

    One step toward to my dream


         In the summer of 2013, I went to Miyagi prefecture, Japan, on my first volunteer activity. This program at my university has taken place every year since the serious earthquake and tsunami disaster on 3.11 in 2011. There are two goals associated with this program. One of them is teaching English to children who live in disaster areas. The memories of the disaster is still painful for them, so our role was to entertaining them with enjoyable English games and make them smile. The other one is to keep the memory of the disaster from fading by visiting the stricken area. Actually I want to be an English teacher at an Japanese elementary school, and I thought this opportunity would be good to find out how to communicate with children. That is the reason why I decided to join the volunteer.

         On the first day, we listened to the experience and saw a lot of pictures from the disaster from the chief of the juvenile welfare institution. That was extremely shocked for me because it was more graphic than news reports on TV had shown. She told us that children have been horrified every since that time, so I thought I should be gingerly take good care of them.

         Activities in English with the children started from the second day, and I noticed that it was unnecessary to be nerves because everyone welcomed us, took a positive attitude toward our activities, and actively invited us to play with them on full of vitality. During those days it was considerably hot and sunny; however, the children were lively and had a lot of fun outside. I was surprised that they were very tough, despite the tragic occurrences they had experienced. During the period of our volunteering, we enjoyed playing with their as if we had returned to childhood.

         In addition to delightful memories, however, there was also regrettable failure. When we played an English game, one boy began to blubber because of his embarrassment. Actually, he made a mistake and couldn’t contribute to his team’s victory. After the trouble has started I couldn’t console him well. Moreover, I was in a little bit of a panic. This event was the most frustrating memory of our volunteering program, but I think I was able to get to good experience. Next time, I will be prepared for such an event.

         At the end of the volunteering program, the children and their teachers held a farewell party for us. They danced and sang that was released from an Japanese popular music group, and finally the children gave me letters. These memories are really precious treasure for me. I was encouraged by this experience to achieve my dream.

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