Date: July 25 - August 2, 2016
Top left to right: Junko Midorikawa (chaperon), Hiroaki Sakurai (13), Walt Herring (staff member)
Front left to right: Soma Suzuki (12), Tomoki Naito (9), Nonoha Kaneko (9), Aika Kdo (10), Karin Hirakuri (11), Shuto Ikeda (12), Ami Sato (11)
The Hawaii Betsuin members greeted eight young guests and their chaperone from Japan, Junko Midorikawa. They were presented lei and served a welcome lunch with delicious dishes brought by the Honolulu Fukushima Kenjin Kai and the Betsuin members. Although we expected that they might be tired from a long flight, they were very active and were able to visit Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific and Ala Moana Beach Park.
Walt Herring kindly offered his second residence in Mountain View on the Big Island to board the children and staff members. The children was very energetic all the time. Whenever they heard "let's have a break," they didn't rest. Instead, they ran out into the garden and played with Walt's roommates' dogs.
The children were treated to activities like surfing and canoe paddling lessons, touring Volcano National Park, visiting the Subaru Telescope Hilo Base Facility and the Imiloa observatory, and participating in a Bon Dance in Hilo. Each day began with a morning service, and every child took a turn ringing a bell . The children also had time to do their summer homework, and older ones kindly helped the younger ones.
One of the children had his birthday during the program, so we had BBQ to celebrate. The kids were very excited to eat a huge American-sized ice cream cake.
In the meanwhile, the children enjoyed swimming as much as possible at Four Mile Beach.
On Sunday, August 1, the children attended a Sunday service at Hilo Higashi Hongwanji, and did mochi pounding prepared by Boy Scout Troop 78, the temple members, and friends. At the farewell party, yummy home-cooked dishes were prepared by cooking experts of Hilo Higashi. Hiroaki spoke about the current situation in Fukushima on behalf of the children. He said that some public parks were uncontaminated, but mountains and riverside areas where he used to play with his friends have been left untreated. The children sang a thank you song for everyone.
Thanks to the generosity and connections of Hilo Higashi Honwanji members and friends, the children truly enjoyed their time in Hilo. Mahalo to all supporters.
The daily schedule report: click here
The financial report: click here