Children enjoy survival camp on uninhabited island

Children enjoy survival camp on uninhabited island

Children on the camp in Gishippu Island off Tokashiki cooked in a stone oven by burning firewood on August 1.

August 15, 2013 Hideaki Yoneda, correspondent of the Ryukyu Shimpo

The National Okinawa Youth Friendship Center held a survival camp for children on an uninhabited island off Tokashiki from July 28 to August 3. Participants from all over the country took part in the camp on Gishippu Island, which is located about 200 meters from the northern end of Tokashiki. The center has held the camp during the summer break each year since opening in 1973.

Without access to electricity, gas or telecommunications on the island, the children experienced the savageness of nature in extreme heat.

Children collected shellfish with their friends on Gishippu Island off Tokashiki on August 1.

Twenty-four children from the fifth grade of elementary school to the third grade of junior high school took part in the camp. Three came from other prefectures, but 21 were from Okinawa. They came to understand the importance of water and modern amenities and enjoyed experiencing nature on the island.

Rowing a large sabani boat, the children traveled to the island with just a bare minimum amount of food and water. They cooked for themselves by catching fish, making a stone oven and collecting firewood to make a fire.

The children slept out in the open under plastic sheets. Local fisherman Takamitsu Shinzato taught them Okinawan traditional drive-fishing.

Eleven-year-old Sota Nakatani from Osaka said, “I saw baby marine turtles hatching.” Eleven-year-old Takashi Namiki from Sendai, Miyagi, who experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake, said, “I learned the importance of friendship and some practical knowledge for survival.”

Sporting a dark suntan, Ryuta Akamine said, “I’ve become more confident in myself.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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