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