For those who didn’t read the last post, we recently facilitated an event that had our local charter school, Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science, hosting Rainbow for Japan Kids, a group of 20 middle-school students from the hardest hit areas of northern Japan. The teachers, staff and students at HAAS showed so much aloha, and sent these kids home with smiles on their faces.
In following up with Japan America Society of Hawaii, I learned that the Japanese mother of one of our “rainbow kids” wrote a letter of thanks to JASH’s partner in Japan, the Bikki organization.
I was so moved and inspired by the letter that I asked permission from JASH to translate into English and publish, keeping names anonymous. They granted permission, so here we are.
Letters like the one below is what drives our passion to connect Japan with Hawaii, especially the kids.
Before reading on, it might be a good idea to break out the tissue. Hope it inspires you as much as it did me:
My daughter participated in the recent study trip to Hawaii.
Tales about her Hawaii adventures started as soon as she got home. Together we scrolled through some 300 pictures she took; one by one she described each day of the trip.
My daughter is the one who sets the mood in our home. Since the disaster she’s been working hard volunteering to help others, from cleaning toilets to playing with small children. She’s been working non-stop everyday from morning to early evening.
Even on the day our Arahama home was destroyed, she insisted on going in place of me, her hesitant mom, to a town reduced to rubble. The one who ended up going back with my husband to do the final clean up, was my daughter.
I haven’t seen my daughter cry since the disaster. She’s always putting up a positive front. Even as a small child she always endured things without complaint, always tried hard–sometimes too hard. So when she was selected to go on this trip, it was my hope that an open, recuperative place like Hawaii would help her relax and be herself.
When she returned home, I saw that that’s exactly what happened: her heart was at peace. I could see the trouble in her heart and physical stress had melted away, and that she had grown as a person.
Since elementary school my daughter has dreamed of becoming a pre-school teacher working with young children. She’s been so inspired by the devoted nursery school professionals at the disaster site offering care to victims, that she’s been volunteering her time to help them as well.
Since coming back from Hawaii, my daughter said she still wants to become a certified nursery care professional, but would also like to pursue a calling where she can help even more people. She doesn’t know what kind of work is out there yet, but she says she wants to go out into the world and figure that out. I believe this trip to Hawaii, and the many people she met while she was there, had a lot to do with her new direction. I’m looking forward to seeing the kind of person my daughter will become.
It is my hope that my daughter will not let the disaster defeat her. I want her to believe in her future, and keep moving forward.
It’s also my hope that from now on, my daughter can stop putting up a false, brave front, and move on with her life as a genuinely happy, positive person.
My heartfelt appreciation to everyone for their time, their help and the valuable experiences they gave my daughter.
Thank you very much.
Copyright © Tim Sullivan, 2011