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The impressions of my first visit to the children's home
(town Shuya, Ivanovo Region, March, 13 - 14, 2004)

Author:  Tokiko Tanaka (Japan) in Russian  »

In Japan many people are aware of the contemporary problems of the world and there exist many organizations. They often make trips to provide helps to people in Asian or African countries.

I even sometimes feel that because everything is so convenient and organized in Japan, the contact between people is becoming less important. For example, you do not need to talk to anyone to buy tickets for metro or drinks as vending machines are everywhere and

Before entering my university in Tokyo «International Christian University» I studied at an international school in India for 2 years. There we all actively participated in social service programs For example I used to teach English to children from neighboring villages and visited hospitals and villages after massive earthquake which took place in gjujrat. However aрart from that I had little contact with the local community and I regretted about it after going back to Japan. As a result of that, since I came to Moscow in September, I was looking for a way to learn about the lives of local people- not just studying at university and socializing with other students. When I was still in Japan, I watched a TV program about street children in Vladivostok. They showed how children are helping each other to survive the harsh life without the help of adults. It was then I learned that there is a large number of children without family in Russia and started hoping to do something for them.

I already had a vague idea of doing volunteer work for either children or elderly people, but it was not easy to find organizations through the Internet. It was partly because my Russian was quite poor at that time and most of the sites were only available in Russian. It was therefore already in January when I found about murzik and wrote to German an email in English, asking for more information and if it possible for me to help them. He replied very quickly and I got another email from Katya in English. He thought that I do not speak any Russian and tried to organize a meeting with Katya so that we will understand each other. I met with German just once before going to this trip, and discussed what I could do with the children. Although it was the first time, I thought I could try origami and cooking.

On very early Saturday morning German came to pick me up near my dorm and we left Moscow. The first impression of the building, unlike my imagination, was clean and bright. All the children who passed by looked very cheerful and said «zdrastvuite!» It is quite possible that I was the first Japanese they met, but they accepted me so naturally. Soon after the arrival we went to the gym and played Kartoshka. It was the first time for me but children let me join them so naturally. After that we gave the things we brought, such as shoes, clothes and small gifts for girls, though 8th of March was already over. At first I was a little bit shy, but started talking to them in my broken Russian. To my surprise it was quite natural process, as if olине и когдо я проснулась brother and sisters visiting with souvenirs. In fact I think that distribution of such supplies will be done more automatically in Japan. After that we went to meet the children of the first class. I taught them origami.

We made cranes and balls. One boy taught me how I should correctly pronounce мячь! Although grown ups in Japan do not make origami so much I enjoy it a lot as I Can became calm and it is great as all we need for it is a piece of paper. Even though we did not stay there for so long, they gave me hugs saying goodbye. I was quite moved by that.

On Sun We were 7 people and I had only met German among them. But I felt so easy to be part of this команда as all of them were so open minded and had strong motivations.

Day we cooked pirojki, soup and salad. Though we thought it will be difficult, they hardly needed any help. They cut vegetables, made the doe and cleaned the dishes with excellent efficiency. I think next time we could even try something a little exotic like Japщи и готовили тесто.ли овanese food!

It was already late at nigh просто провела о хорошо аt when we came back to Moscow on Sunday. To be honest I was quite tired, but felt that I had such a fruitful time. I did not feel satisfied because I did something good to them, but simply because I enjoyed doing various activities with them. I hope that I could somehow contribute in widening their view of the world. And it was of course an excellent opportunity to practice my Russian, too!

I have to say that living in Moscow is not as convenient as living in Japan. But because of that I think people help each other a lot and it often moves me. Yet I think there is a need to establish organizations with good foundation to tackle various social problems as there is a limit one person can do. Such an idea might be quite new to many Russian people, but I think it will be possible.

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