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03/27/2008

New Days

0325_2 Hello, my name is Etsuko Inomata, and I am in charge of the affairs and management of the Juba office. It has been almost two months since I arrived in Sudan, and I am doing well although I am spending my days in the midst of the unfamiliar intense heat of the afternoons.

Here is Juba, dust covers everything, even my nails, nose and ears. My white clothing has turned brown. My room is also covered in dust and I have had to grow accustomed to this aspect of life.

Before the beginning of the rainy season, the intensity of the heat abated. Time is passing incredibly fast as I am surrounded by cheerful staff. From this point on, I will continue to explore Sudan and report my findings to you.

(PICTURE: Nakamura, a JEN Supporter, visiting the Juba Office)

March 27, 2008 in South Sudan |

03/13/2008

The Ambassador Visits Juba

0311 Last week, Ambassador Ishii and First Secretary Hasegawa visited the JEN Office in Juba. Presently, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, JEN is implementing Water Sanitation Improvement projects in Lainya County. In this project, well construction, toilet installation, the establishment of a Water Sanitation Improvement Committee and training for operation management are being completed in three schools in Lainya.

During this particular meeting, the Juba office reported on the progress of the project, and explained related matters of security. In addition, there was an explanation on the life in Juba and opinions were exchanged with regards to future plans in Sudan. JEN would like to continue to continue our projects in Sudan by continuing to interact with people and organizations from the embassy or Ministry of Foreign Affairs and would like to thank them very much for their visit.

March 13, 2008 in South Sudan |

03/06/2008

A Winter Holiday in Kashmir!

080306_mofa_3 In schools located high in the mountains, there is a long winter holiday, for about three months, as it snows continually. JEN’s project site has also been covered by snow since January, but now the snow has finally started to thaw.

One day, I peeked into a student’s house, and saw a group of girls gathered there. Upon asking, ‘What do always do during the holidays?’ they responded in unison, ‘we study, of course!’ However, neither pens nor notebooks were to be seen. Instead, there were a few small pebbles. I asked again, ‘I promise not to tell your teacher, so what do you really do?’ They answered, ‘play with beanbags and play hide and seek!’

The children of Kashmir play with small pebbles as if they were beanbags. Watching them, I felt that this was a game possible only for children that have been raised in a place surrounded by nature that can be used as the resource for their games. At the same time, I noted that in practice the games played by children in Pakistan are not unlike those played by children in Japan. 080306_mofa_2_3

Note: The school in Haveli county of Bagh city will have winter holidays from December 15th to March 1st.

(PICTURE (Upper Left):Our project site covered in snow、PICTURE (Lower Right):Beanbags with small pebbles.)

March 6, 2008 in Pakistan |

Japanese Devices, Iraqi Devices

36_2 While implementing JEN’s school reconstruction projects, we make an attempt to take into consideration the opinion of the teaching staff. This is why there are small variations in each of the schools, such as the colors of the walls.

The faucet shown in this picture is one such example. I do not think this type of faucet can be seen in Japan. The handle of the faucet is at the bottom, with the tip facing upwards. In Japan, there are multi-purpose faucets where the tip of the faucet can rotate according to whether you want to drink the water, or wash your hands.

I was left wondering why we could not install what I believed was a more convenient faucet that faces up for drinking, and faces downwards for washing. I asked the local engineer about this. He explained that he is avoiding rotating faucets because they consist of more joining parts, and it is easier to break.

After the school reconstruction is complete and handed over to the Iraqi Ministry of Education, it is the responsibility of the teachers and staff to preserve and maintain the facilities. It is essential for us to accommodate our facilities to make repair as low cost as possible and strong to stand the wear and tear of the long-term use of these facilities by the school children.

March 6, 2008 in Iraq |

Spring has arrived!

080306_brick_masonry_at_kobar JEN’s project site, Parwan province, was hit by a very cold winter from late December to mid-February, which turned it into a land of silver snow.

This winter was especially harsh. A few hundred deaths were reported across the country and in Parwan, temperatures dropped to -22C. In January, we received an order from the school construction board to temporarily suspend construction efforts due to the cold. Unfortunately, JEN had to delay construction efforts until February 24th.

During the last week of February, the temperature made a drastic upturn and shot up to 15C and we were finally able to resume our much anticipated construction efforts. With the end of a long winter, the springtime has brought a renewed energy and motivation!

March 6, 2008 in Afghanistan |