6 years ago the community of Oya was hit by the tsunami of 3.11. Hundreds of families came together at the Teragai community center where OGA for Aid worked to coordinate food and water supplies. Temporary housing was built near by and hundreds moved into the courtyard of the elementary school – the facilities stand there to this day.
The Asobiba no kai began as a project to look after the young children whose parents were working. From daily activities to providing soup lines monthly for families in need the Obachans behind the Asobiba no Kai are energetic, friendly and dedicated. Place To Grow held its first workshop with the Asobiba no kai, and shared the games and celebrations of Easter with the children.
The PTG volunteers arrived at 10:15 and set up the egg dying station inside the greenhouse/Asobiba no kai meeting space. The obachans helped set up the room, make decorations, invitations and banners.
BY THE NUMBERS
12: Local Children
6: Local Adults
8: PTG Volunteers
2: Partner Volunteers
Did you know? In the 16th century painting eggs with colors was meant to signify bringing spring into the home. Flower petals were added to the water – creating a simple dye effect.
After the preparations Angela led the whip-around of introductions of volunteers and participants. Then teacher Aika explained about spring and the tradition of Easter. We talked about coloring eggs, what games we play with eggs and how there are many ways to decorate them now.
The grandmothers cut out paper rabbits to string up while the children dyed eggs, used crayons and markers to add pictures and shapes, while others still preferred to cover theirs in glitter for a delicate and sparkly look.
The craft time was followed by the Easter Egg Hunt -15 reusable plastic colored eggs were recycled by volunteers and grandmothers, who kept up a steady assembly line filling and hiding these eggs for the children to hunt.
This was by far the highlight of the event, but we also got in some games like the spoon/egg race and redlight/greenlight (another favorite!)
The winners of the final game received “party OGA sunglasses” and ALL the children received an Easter chocolate egg to eat.
We wrapped up the workshop with a short reflection huddle where the kids were asked to give us feedback on their favorite part of the day.
“What was the activity you enjoyed the most?” Lucia asked. “The egg hunt!“ “The spoon race!” “The egg hunt!” ….and while unanimously kids gave favorite of the day to the egg hunt, it was Miwako Suzuki who on behalf of the obachans said her favorite part was hiding the eggs for the kids.
Also we received feedback from the obachan that most events are Japanese cultured related events so it was good and beneficial to bring in and introduce an international environment and atmosphere.
“Volunteers talking to the kids in English is a rare opportunity” said community leader, M. Suzuki, “its very stimulating to the children’s minds. “
Playing with eggs also seemed to be a brand new activity.
“I’ve never done this”, said 10 year old H. “I didn’t even know you could play with eggs!”
“I liked all of it! “Said G, 16years old. “Me too, echoed his buddy,” 14 years old
The energy, excitement and curiosity from the children and volunteers alike made this a truly memorable workshop. The weather was warm, sunny with bright blue skies. We are happy to have the Asobiba no kai join Place to Grow as a local partner and beneficiary community.