Sasakko Club

This summer, Emmaus had an activity called, Sasakko-Club. The activity was held for 3 weeks, started from August 6th to August 25th, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The purpose was to create a place where children can gather, do their summer-vacation homework with the help of volunteers, and moreover, simply have fun through various kinds of activities. As I reflect back on those days, the Sasakko-Club seemed to be a success. I remember seeing children running around with water-guns and mischievous laughter, while college-student volunteers standing in their soaked clothes. Well, I hope they were somehow managed complete their homework…
the picture is taken this summer. children doing their homework
$UCCJ Tohoku Disaster Relief Center
There is a sad reality behind this cheerful picture, and it is a reason why Emmaus has started Sasakko-Club.
After the tsunami on 3/11 in 2011, many families have moved from the area, leaving it with even less children. The town was already suffering from the declining population of children. Children are treasure. There is energy in a town where there are children; there is a future where they are. In restoring the town, doing something for children may be as crucial as removing debris.
It is important to provide an opportunity with the town where children can be.
And Sasakko-Club brought good results this summer.
A resident in Sasayashiki said he or she felt happy as looking at children playing cheerfully and hearing their voices echoing the area. Some were able to see their grandchildren who were visiting Sasakko-Club and visited their house in a long time. At home, Sasakko-Club became good conversation topics between children and their parents; probably they would talk about what they did with their friends. The glimpse of hope and future visited the area.
These are precious moments, and the opportunities for these moments should be continued. And Emmaus will continue Sasakko-Club.
During the semester, the club will hold an event every month, and during vacation (so it will be this coming winter break), the club will be open as frequently as this summer.

“Children are a heritage from the LORD” – PSALM 127:3 (NIV)

Kenichi Tanaka
Sendai Staff
We, UCCJ Tohoku Disaster Relief Center, have been supported by the many and would like to thank you for your continued support. We would appreciate your support in order to sustain our activity.


『小さい事に忠実な人は、大きい事にも忠実であり・・・』 ルカ16:10
笹屋敷の復興という願いを抱く私達 。その大きな願いを思う時、もしかすると毎日のワークは小さくて、取るに足らないものと感じるかもしれません。しかし、その大きな願いを持っている私達は、尚更、どんな小さな事にも忠実であるべきでは、と考えさせられました。

Working at K’s.

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones…” – Luke 16:10 (NLT)
Under the clear blue sky with merciless sunbeam, I worked at Mr. K’s garden with two college students and one Emmaus staff. The project given is to clear Mr. K’s garden, where most of the trees was covered with ivies, making the trees appear much bigger than their actual size and with the ground covered by freely grown weeds. Yes, you may feel like you have stepped into a jungle of somewhere in Southeast Asia. To be honest, this project seems to be endless. The garden has been under the project for about 2 weeks but still only half of the task seems to be completed. It is simply a labor.
It is a good opportunity, though, to reflect on what it means to do volunteer works through Emmaus – Slow Work.
If you have done volunteering at Emmaus before, you may already be familiar with this term. At every morning meeting, a staff explains it is Emmaus’s policy. Slow work does not mean to work sluggishly, but to work carefully and sympathetically. The workers are to pay attention to keeping the working pace with the victims so that they will not be exhausted by working with the volunteers, to have communication with the victims for some of them simply enjoy chatting with volunteers, and, finally and hopefully, to establish supportive, warm relationship with the victims. Slow works highly estimates the value of relationship between the victims and volunteers, rather than the efficiency of works.
However, as a reality, there are tasks involving working at a house or farm, where the owner cannot be present. Then, one may wonder how the theme of slow work applies in such a case.
It plays a significant role.
In the past, I remember when I was working at another place, the owner of a house told me how it encouraged her, giving her strength to step forward to restore her living, as she came back to her farm and laid her eyes upon it thoroughly cleared by volunteers, which was covered with weeds and some debris. As one can imagine, it may be hard for them to make an effort to restore their living after losing many by tsunami; the lady owner of the farm mentioned she felt ineffably lethargic after the event. As long as I can see, she seems to be a very positive individual, eager to restore her house so that she can live there again, fixing it little by little. This is the power of careful work, I believe. It can be an implement to bring the light of hope among those who are weary in the darkness of having lost much by the tsunami.
Likewise, I hope we can be a help to Mr. K.
It seems like it may take much work and time to clear his garden. We strip ivy one by one from a tree and mow the grass with a careful heart: we keep working with the heart of slow work. I believe it is important to work faithfully in this exhausting and tedious work. Cutting ivy and mowing grass may be considered “little things” among other kinds of works, but if our purpose is to be an implement to bring restoration in in the heart of Mr. K, and hopefully Sasayashiki, I believe, we, Emmaus volunteers and staff, are to be faithful in little things. The theme of slow work enables us to assume this attitude.
Kenichi Tanaka
Sendai Staff
We, UCCJ Tohoku Disaster Relief Center, have been supported by the many and would like to thank you for your continued support. We would appreciate your support in order to sustain our activity.

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