The Middle School Student Service Leadership Team Teaches English in Iwate

Libi Savion (Grade 6) reflects on the Middle School Student Leadership Team’s (MMSSLT) recent trip to teach in Ofunato City, an area still feeling the impact of the 2011 earthquake subsequent tsunami. 

Since September, the Middle School Student Service Leadership Team (MMSSLT) has been teaching English to students at Ikawa Elementary School who have been affected by the tsunami in 2011. On February 23, we went out on our yearly trip to Tohoku in Ofunato City, Iwate.

The way to Ofunato was very long but, when we got there, the experience of meeting those kids, learning about their lives and teaching them was worth traveling so far. We went there to teach English and supplement what they learn in their English classes.

At the start of our visit, I thought Ofunato was almost done with recovering from the tsunami, because our hotel was an evacuation point and there was no construction nearby. Unfortunately, when we started going downhill, I found that I was mistaken. When we looked outside the bus window, it looked like it would still take a while until everything is recovered and rebuilt. The good thing is, the school we went to was also an evacuation point and its field had been used as temporary housing since 2011. When we went last year, we hoped the temporary housing had ended but it had not. However, when we arrived there this year, we were very happy and thrilled to find the field was empty, which is a great sign because that means all the kids and people living in that area have finished repairing their houses.

Teaching the students at Ikawa Elementary School was something I will personally never forget. Seeing those kids and the area surrounding them really makes you much more grateful for everything you have. They are such an amazing group of people, so optimistic and kind. Some students also asked us to sign autographs like we were celebrities. They personally made my day. Teaching those kids taught me much more than people would think. They taught me to try my best no matter what. Even if the English was hard for them, they would try their best no matter who I was talking to during the activity. This trip was an experience that I will never forget and I hope that people will be able to visit Tohoku one day and really understand how inspiring it is.

If you would like to read about past visits to Tohoku, check out our previous posts.