This summer for the third time in a row we hosted an outdoor retreat in Kiyosato sponsored by the ASIJ Japan Relief Fund, this time with 19 children and 4 mothers participating from Fukushima City. We went hiking, played in the river, caught grasshoppers, searched for mushrooms in the forest, baked cookies and bread outside, petted the cows and horses…and the kids were bursting with energy until the very end!
It was incredible to see how much they had grown since last summer, both individually and as a group (as most of them have participated before). Fukushima City, where they are all from, continues to face issues of radiation contamination and this limits the children’s freedom outdoors. The retreat gives them the chance to play outside freely, enjoying nature and forget the stress of daily life.
High school students and recent ASIJ graduates who volunteered to host the retreat Michelle Stolle ’12, Ellie Fu ’14, Ikumi Miyazaki ’17, Sae Ishizuka ’17, and Ayano Nagaishi ’17 had a blast as well, and it is thanks to them that things went smoothly. (Elicia Cousins ’09, HS Writing Lab)