Children from different countries interact in Okinawa
August 26, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
An event aimed at promoting interaction between children of different countries through nature experiences was held over five nights and six days from August 17 in the Ada district of Kunigami. On August 20, sports events were held at Ada Elementary School in the natural surrounds of Yambaru, bringing smiles to the faces of the children.
A total of 140 people took part in the event. Among them, were 74 children from Japan, South Korea, Russia, Mongolia, and China, and 66 staff including teachers from Taiwan and student volunteers from the University of the Ryukyus and Meio University. Sixteen children from Okinawa, including six pupils from Ada Elementary School, took part, and built friendships with the other children. At the farewell party, the participants took photographs of each other and exchanged T-shirts. They promised to reunite.
Most of the participants from other countries were visiting Okinawa for the first time. For the event, they stayed at a gymnasium at the school. They rode kayaks, explored an uninhabited island, and made a campfire. They enjoyed the natural environment of Yambaru.
Fourteen-year-old Marcia who enthusiastically took part in a relay at the sports festival on August 20, said, “I was impressed by the nature in Okinawa, such as the blue sea and the green mountains.” A 12-year-old Mongolian boy, Elden said, “I love the beautiful sea. I want to visit Okinawa again.” A 12-year-old Chinese boy, Liu Lee said, “I was thrilled by the exploration of the uninhabited island. I made many friends.”
Thirteen-year-old Aichi resident Ayuka Mituya, who has visited Okinawa several times for peace education programs, said, “I was surprised by the many stars in the night sky. I was able to see the Milky Way.”
A sixth grader from Jomae Elementary School Nozomi Omine said, “I could not understand their languages; however, I made friends while playing cards. It was a good experience.”
Shinobu Nakane, director of the Ryukyu branch of the Asia Association, who organized the event, said, “The participants transcended language barriers and cultural boundaries, interacting with each other. The participants, including grown-ups and children deepened their understanding of other counties.”
(English translation by T&CT)
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