Main | June 2006 »


“JEN Snowbusters 2006” Draws to an End

2_5_thumb The last of the “JEN Snowbusters 2006” was carried out on February 17-19, with a total of 11 participants including seven high school students.

  On the first day and a half, we went to the Kotsunagi district, a place within the Tokamachi area known for particularly heavy snow. There we cleared snow from a shrine and three houses.

The Kotsunagi district, which was close to the epicenter, suffered especially extensive damage within the Tokamachi area. Since the soil foundation of the district has all but collapsed, it is said that the buildings will never be safely livable again. Therefore, many of the houses have been or will be taken down. Furniture that will not fit into the temporary housings however, have been left inside the houses lived in prior to the quake, and thus clearing snow from residential areas holds a vital meaning for the residents.

  We have heard that due to this year’s heavier than average snowfall, there have already been seven snow clearing sessions. Even the snow around their own houses proved almost too much for the residents to clear; the district shrine was simply unmanageable. Centering around the seven high school students and their teacher, the “snowbusters” were able to clear snow from the shrine as well as two of the resident’s houses, and their work was greatly appreciated by the local people.

  The high school students still seemed to have, unbelievably, energy leftover after the snow clearing had been completed, and enjoyed engaging in a wild snow fight.

A total of 48 volunteers from all around the country participated in the “JEN Snowbusters 2006.”

Last of all, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all volunteers, the members of the Tokamachi Regional Development Committee, the residents’ association of the Nakajo temporary housings, and the Tokamachi Welfare Council.

May 30, 2006 in Niigata |

Falling Rocks and Landslides

12_1 In the city of Palangi of Bagh district, where JEN is currently conducting several projects, there are frequent landslides and falling rocks after continuous days of raining. The land made loose from the past earthquake has only made matters worse.
The other day, we were caught in a traffic jam that had occurred as a result of a fallen rock completely blocking the road.

Three workers hired by the government, working nearby to widen numerous roads, were brought out to clear the rocks. “Clearing the rocks”—striking the rocks with hammers, carrying the broken pieces with their hands, then hauling them over the cliff—was work that demanded much time and patience.
After a while some villagers began helping out, and we, as JEN staff, whose mission is emergency support, joined in as well. One by one, the drivers and passengers of the stopped buses and trucks also began climbing out, and all began to help remove the debris.

What would have taken at least 4 to 5 hours had there only been 3 people, was finished in a matter of 30 minutes. Automobiles were free to go to and fro once again.
A big round of applause to the locals’ teamwork for saving everybody’s day.

May 30, 2006 in Pakistan |

Social Workers

S1_1     JEN is currently working on a follow-up program aimed at reaching out to tsunami victims in further need of help in dealing with their psychological wounds. The subjects of the program are victims from the 32 villages that JEN worked with on a previous project. Needless to say, social workers are an indispensable part of this program.

S2     Social workers regularly visit the villages, teaching community workers from various villages as well as holding counseling sessions. The below is a message from one of the workers:
“When we began this program, the villagers were expecting support in terms of money, and thus we had a difficult time in trying to win their understanding on the significance of psychological care. However, they eventually came to comprehend the problems that they carried, and were able to regain their ways of positive thinking. Through JEN’s program, I myself was able to learn many things, as well as mature as a person alongside the tsunami victims.”

    Today, she continues to heal people’s broken hearts, while wrapped in a beautiful sari and playing cricket with the children until the ball is no longer visible to the eye.

May 30, 2006 in Sri Lanka |

Poultry Association to build Feed Self-Processing Facility

1_2_1  Poor crop due to lack of rain has resulted in the rising prices of hen feed. This has come as a direct blow to the Gergef Poultry Association (no. of associates: 30 female returnees) that commenced chicken farming in June, 2005, as the production cost of eggs has began to rise. The already grave situation has only been exacerbated by the outbreak of the bird flu, which in itself, has threatened the existence of Eritrea’s poultry farming.

JEN will begin the construction of a feed self-processing facility, utilizing agricultural products grown in the village. After training the 30 members, and if the project manages to get on track, we hope to be able to reduce the feed cost by 25%.

We are currently preparing for the construction at a rapid pace, so that the facility may see its completion before the rainy season begins in mid-June.

May 30, 2006 in Eritrea |

Security Training

14_1 A security training program, organized by the IOM-IRAQ (International Organization for Migration Iraq Mission), was held at Amman. The program was constituted of 2 parts; during the first 2 days, participants were intensively taught about wireless radios and mines, as well as how to behave when one is kidnapped, and the latter 2 days involved practical training setting an ambush in the desert, or being taken under confinement, as the assumed scenarios.

During the training, explosives were set up by the road, and the trainees’ cars were “attacked” with colored bullets, as well as threatened by armed staff at a fake checkpoint. Even though participants knew it was only training, long sessions under strained conditions proved stressful.

Obviously, it does not mean that one’s safety is assured by simply undergoing such training. It is possible, however, to decrease the risk of oneself or one’s colleague from being exposed to danger, from learning the ways to react in the case of an emergency. Through such programs, we hope to always be prepared for work in unstable areas.

May 30, 2006 in Iraq |

A Girl’s School Ready to Open in Remote Village

1_5_1 The Shiwa Girl’s School, located in a remote village in the mountains of Parwan province, was completed at the end of March in time for the new school semester. (…after 7 months of construction.) 2_4_1

Since the school was planned to be built upon a hill, the project began from flattening out the land. The next step was building a road leading to the construction site; however, there were times when trucks carrying building materials too heavy for its load stalled halfway, and the material had to be reloaded onto a smaller truck. The project also faced some trouble with securing water essential for the construction-the water pump, used to pump up the water from the reservoir built beneath the hill, as well as the generator operating the pump, often broke down which resulted in numerous interruptions of the project. (…water drawn from the village waterway)

In spite of such difficulties faced, when greeted with the girls’ big smiles on the day of the school opening, we could not help but feel joy in being able to see the completion of the school, as well as strongly hope for the bright future of these children.

May 30, 2006 in Afghanistan |