I still remember vividly as we entered the spring break in February, I was already looking forward to the restart of the school semester, a return to the enthralling college life (in fact the last year of which) with the campus brimming with vigor and life. Then, the earthquake on 11 March altered the entire country’s calendar, and revamped my personal diary too. The temporary sketches of preplanned activities had to be erased and for a while, we did not know where we were heading to; we were not even sure if we were heading back to school.
I embarked on a spate of activities I would never had imagined myself doing. Creating Project YUME with Peter Draw, visiting schools, evacuation centres, participating in a volunteer trip to the affected area in Miyagi Prefecture. Organizing and participating in events (in schools and outside) to raise awareness of the Japan disaster, as well as helping a special friend, KHylin, in chasing her dream to be a singer and getting her deserved recognition. If there had been a theme for these extraordinary two months, it would have been “meeting new people”. Meeting someone does not mean a mere addition to the name card booklet or the phone list, it represents an encounter with a brand-new embodiment of ideas and thoughts. Things might not have turned out as I had imagined in February, but life had never seemed so different; I might have just uncovered a possible alternative path in life.
About three weeks ago, I paid a visit to Oizumi Elementary School, the first school that responded to our project YUME. Not only that, the school had adjusted their class schedules so as to allocate three full hours for the children to draw, and for me to interact with the children.
“I wish to let the children have a chance to interact with someone like you, Dennis, and hopefully be influenced and grow up to become someone like you.” Nomura-san’s words touched my heart. I am flattered. If only I could be someone great enough to inspire the children. It did not take long for me to realize as I interacted with the kids that there was more for me to learn from them. The children spoke with open honesty, straightforwardness, and full of politeness.
Yesterday, I made my way to two elementary schools- Mabashi Elementary School and Kubomachi Elementary School (in the aftermath of the typhoon) to collect drawings by their students for Project YUME. I was given the honour to speak to the entire school at their morning assembly, albeit for a mere five minutes. I hope I had managed to convey my heartfelt thanks and messages to the children, and the teachers as well. The responsibility is now incumbent upon me to bring their precious drawings to the affected areas to inspire courage and hope in the children.
May has come to an end, and more adventures await in June!