2014/03/11Message for the day of Mar 11 2014
“I was really pleased when I received a pair of shoes. Thank you very much.”
After three years, the afflicted people gradually started to talk about the disaster. I can feel the clock is finally restarted to tick which had stopped on the 11th March 2011.
There is a word that comes to mind when we have a major earthquake and/or natural disaster. It is the words by Eric Khoo*. I met him in winter 2005. Mr. Khoo was the chair of the Asia-Pacific Regional Scout Committee of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) at that time. And he attended the meetings between World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and WOSM Asia Pacific Region held at Sangam World Centre in Pune, India. He understood well about WAGGGS’ works and made effort to encourage cooperative relationship between WAGGGS and WOSM. He was a generous and broad minded person.
At the meetings, we talked about the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake**. Then, he said, “Some people say we should send groups of Scouts in an emergency situation by a major natural disaster, but I would never agree with that. At the disaster site, Scouts must face with the devastated field, awful dead bodies, and smell it. I cannot bring young people for such places considering how they influenced and suffered from the traumatic experience.” I was very impressed with his insights which express clearly what we have to protect as a leader. It became one of my words to live by.
Too many areas and too many people were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Although, I only watched the images of the affected field through TV programme, I still feel unrestful every time I watch.
Lots of people who lived through the disaster forced to start their life at an evacuation centre. What did children see and experience there? They should happen to see and hear messy situations of adults. They must be involved in a scene too much to bear alone.
“When is the next meeting?”
This is what a girl said first of all when she met the chair of her troop at an evacuation centre. How do you feel and think from her words?
Her words added in my unforgettable words list. As a person who involves Social Education, her words always remind me for whom and for what we work and the importance to reflect on oneself.
Mariko Asano, National Commissioner, Girl Scouts of Japan
*Ex Board Member of WOSM, passed away in January 2014.
**The earthquake occurred on 26th December 2004 in the Indian Ocean off Sumatra. It is said 220 thousand people were dead or missing by the earthquake and/or Tsunami.