June Journal

DAY 80: Final Activity Report - Volunteers Reflect on Their Time in Japan (5 June)

before the session
The final Activity Report

Although the volunteers finished presenting their activities at the official side event of TICAD 5 on May 31st, their schedule stayed fairly busy even as they entered the month of June.

After finishing their individual reports and meeting with Dr Hakim, the director of the administration and human resource management of the AUC over lunch, the volunteers presented their activities for the 2nd (final) time at JICA Hiroba at Ichigaya, Tokyo on this day.

The difference between the official side event at TICAD 5 and this activity report meeting was that this time each volunteer was requested to reflect on their time in Japan and also answer questions from the audience. 

tono volunteers
Volunteers commenting on their time in Tono City

kamaishi volunteers
Volunteers reflecting on their time in Kamaishi, Otsuchi

DAY 87: Farewell!? The Goodbye Ceremony (12 June)

Hugging the coordinator goodbye

The morning of the departure. Already three months has passed since the volunteers first arrived. But perhaps the volunteers did not want to leave just quite yet? Although it was time to leave the Kanagawa International Training Centre, the volunteers did not seem quite ready to leave… as the staff and the volunteer got ready to leave, you could see the numerous gifts from local people surrounding them. 

As the volunteer packed his bags and reflected on the memories for each item, and then again as he packed each item or memory as he got ready to go home, you could not but help sense the quality of time the volunteer had had in Japan. 

Although the volunteers were interested in many different Japanese customs, they especially took a liking and adherence to the farewell custom. They called it the “goodbye ceremony” and practiced it for the three months they were here in Japan. In the “goodbye ceremony”, you make sure that you “receive” the farewell until you no longer see the person. On the other hand, if you are seeing someone off, you make sure to wave until that person is no longer seen. 

Today was the last “goodbye ceremony”. At this last “goodbye ceremony” the volunteers said farewell to the coordinators they had been working together with for the past 3 months. Although nobody shed tears, and perhaps they felt that they would be able to see each other again, but both the volunteers and the staff waved goodbye to each other with smiles on their faces until the end as the volunteer left the airport.   

leaving airport
After checking the luggage in at the last minute, the volunteer waves goodbye

Volunteer and staff Waving Goodbye until the end

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