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2012.09.27

Starting from Lulu – Independence of women

Have you ever seen luxury cosmetic items sold in Japan, that its ingredients including “shea butter” ?

Many trees with nuts, that are ingredients of shea butter, are found in South Sudan. Local residents call them “Lulu”, and nuts is eaten as fruits, oil is extracted from lulu and used not only for the edible use but also for the skin care.

This week, we would like to introduce you a group in Kajo Keji county acting for improvement of  the status of women.  The group is called “Bile wate ki”, meaning “Liven up women” in local Bari-language.  Group of woman are engaged in activities to earn income from lulu in the area called Bibi Gore in Kajo Keji county where JEN is acting.  They received training from an international NGO to make soaps and body oils in around 2006, and now they continue their activities with support from churches.

Oil extracted from lulu is classified to ranks A through C.  If  extracted oil is high quality classified as “A”, it will be made into body oils, “B” for food oil and “C” for soap.  Soap with plenty of shea butter will wash up our skin moist and smooth.

[Lulu nuts]
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[Cracked lulu]

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[Wrapping up cracked lulu and squeeze out oil in the machine]

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[Oil squeezed out from lulu is boiled with water to remove impurities.]
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[Soap]
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[Body oil]
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[They also build houses for their activities themselves.  Building up rocks on wood-frames and make plaster walls with kneaded dirt.]

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[They also make honey.  Honey are sometimes sold in used plastic bottles in South Sudan,  but they use clean bottle for selling honey.]

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We received a warm welcome with many smiles this day (though, they seem tensed with unfamiliar photo shoot).  Bile wate ki started activities among the first in South Sudan, where there still are very few industries. 
We would like to follow up activities of them.

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September 27, 2012 in South Sudan |

One Team

On Monday, September 17th, 2012, for the first time in 2 years and half of project in Haiti, the 3 offices of JEN (Port-au-Prince, Leogane and Grand-Goave) gathered together. The meeting was held in Grand Goave compound. Not only because it is from far the nicer office we have in the country, but also because it is the place where works the bigger team.

[View from Grand Goave office]
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Only a common objective: to ensure everybody, from the guards to the masons, from the hygiene promoters to the drivers, from the administrative assistant to the management team, feels that JEN in Haiti is one team.
The first ones arrived around noon. According to their activities, everybody join the gathering at the time it suited them. One request only: everybody comes with something, either cooked, or to drink. The best being something cooked personally to share with others.

We did talk about the anniversary of the first JEN team’s arrival in the country: Cyril and Olivier arrived exactly 32 months ago on the island;
We did talk about the birthday of Berlande, the most senior Haitian staff in JEN Haiti who got 29 on the 18th;
We did talk about the preparation day in Leogane, where the team gathered on Sunday to cook a very special meal for the others;

[The Leogane team’s meal under preparation]
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We did hear many jokes and teasing all over the day, the funny team being led by the now famous “Ekip Kouyon”
We did thank the dedication of the staffs, from the oldest one Berlande, to the latest recruited Zephyr, to ensure the good work of JEN in Haiti for the support of the most affected Haitians;
We did laugh during the self-presentation of each member of the team to the others;
We did talk about the missing people: all international and national staff who left JEN for new challenges over these 2 years and half, or the guards of Port au Prince who had to stay there to keep the house safe;

[“Ekip Kouyon” without its leader]
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We did listen about the poetry that has been written and declaimed by Fifi, a program assistant working for JEN since April 2010;
We did observe Marie-Louise, the Grand Goave office assistant, taking the lead to move on everybody in the same direction during the preparation.

[Food preparation during D day]
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But if we have to remind only one thing from this special gathering it’s the work conducted altogether to ensure a full success of the day, the solidarity between all these people who did not knew each other so much the day before.

[JEN Haiti greeting JEN worldwide]
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Here was one single JEN team on Monday!

September 27, 2012 in Haiti |

An Empty Welcome Home (Part 1)

The GN Division of Mallikaithivu is located 5km inland in the DS Division of Puthukkudiyiruppu, Mullativu District. Though some natives sustained their livelihood by fishing, the majority supported themselves by farming. These Tamils are 2nd and 3rd generation migrants, a movement stemming from of a government policy in the 1950’s which saw natives migrate from the Jaffna district and immerse themselves in peanut farming.

Internal conflict within the country was the impetus for moving. In order to escape becoming a casualty of war, they had no choice but to flee from their homeland, and congregate in refugee camps known as “manic camps”. The opportunity to return home finally came on August 10, 2012 — more than three years since the end of the war. Since then, 394 families have returned home within a month.

The UN aided the returning families, providing trucks and buses for transportation. For the families, provisions received were not limited to foodstuffs — cookware, shovels, knife, vinyl sheets, and other essentials were also distributed.

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The returnees arrive home to an empty welcome. Scrap wood, leftovers of war, and the few remains of their homes lie in tatters. A stark contrast to the homes they left behind before the war.

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After clearing space by removing debris, places are allocated for the construction of tents, which require sturdy pieces of wood for the frames.

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Monthly provisions of rice, dried beans, coconut oil, sugar and wheat flour are supplied. Other ingredients such as meat, fish, eggs and vegetables can be bought from surrounding towns; however, the distance (6km) from these towns as well as a lack of public transportation facilities means a long walk, or a bicycle ride for those few who own such luxuries.

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(continued in part 2)

September 27, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

2012.09.20

The coming of autumn to the Oshika Peninsula; Ogihama autumn festival takes place.

On September 9, an autumn festival took place at Ogihama in Oshika Peninsula. They say that people in the area slightly feel autumn coming when the Ogihama autumn festival takes place, because many other neighboring villages hold festivals in spring. Ogihama was deadly devastated by the tsunami on the heels of the Great East Japan Earthquake. A total of fourteen families (thirty people) whose houses have been swept away now live in temporary housing in Ogihama area, and others live away from Ogihama in temporary housing or rental housing provided by the government.

Mr. Fushimi, the representative of Shinto shrine---also chairs the steering committee of Fishery Cooperative Association---sent invitations to all the people who left Ogihama so that people may be able to use the festival as an opportunity to get together at Ogihama. On the festival day, many people who are away from Ogihama returned to see the festival.

【Photo: Ms. Esashi living in Ogihama temporary housing, Mr. Sugiura heading the ward of Samuraihama】
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I heard that there are traditional practices in Ogihama shrine; "No women admitted", "No cries(Heave ho!) allowed when carrying a mikoshi(portable shrine)." The mikoshi carrier leaves his home with his mousse holding a sheet of paper between his teeth and is prohibited from making any sound until the festival is over---this year so many volunteers joined the festival that the practices were eased though---. The chief priest of Ogihama Shinto shrine, shrine parishioner and volunteers together made a visit to the shrine at the top of the flight of 206 steps. I hear the shrine is the highest in that area. The shrine commands an extensive prospect of the bay of Ogihama.

【Photo: View from the Shinto shrine】
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【Photo: Shinto Shrine】
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After having shrine rituals in the shrine compound, they walked down the flight and started preparing the mikoshi.
Local young people and volunteers followed the leading car loaded with a drum, carrying the mikoshi on their shoulders. On arriving at the sea, they loaded the mikoshi onto a ship and carried the Mikoshi by ship all the way around the bay of Ogihama, going back and winding through the town again.

【Photo: The mikoshi travels around the bay of Ogihama】
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【Photo: The mikoshi winds through the town】
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Last year the festival took place on a smaller scale, but it was thanks to the cooperation with many volunteers, organizations and people who had involved in Ogihama, including JEN that the community of Ogihama was able to hold the festival on as large a scale as pre-disaster festival.

The festival closed with mochimaki---scattering red and white rice cakes; a Shinto ritual to disperse evils---drawing cheers. It goes without saying that the festival was full of smiling faces of participants everywhere.

【Photo: Mochimaki before the Ogihama branch office】
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【Photo: Scattered rice cakes】
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====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
  Account holder: JEN

 
  Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card:
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  Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

September 20, 2012 in Tohoku earthquake |

Firemen's relay road race across the country one and a half years after the disaster

At 2:00 p.m. on September 11th, the last runner of a relay road race crossed the goal at Ishinomaki fire department with a sash that had been handed over from fireman to fireman across the country.

【Photo: Mr. Muto, a member of the relay road race planning committee, and JEN's staff】
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【Photo: The very moment of finishing】
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The relay road race started from the city of Kagoshima on March 11, which was planned by firemen volunteers across the country in order to encourage the local fire department, firemen and their families who have been inflicted by the Great East Japan Earthquake. With a hope for recovery in mind, a total of 8,124 firemen runners ran 4,881 kilometers passing the sash across one city government and 25 prefectures.

Mr. Kazuyoshi Noda(43 year old) and three officials of Ishinomaki fire department were in charge of the last leg of the relay race; He worked for Onagawa fire department at the time of the disaster and not only four fellow workers of his were killed or among missing but also he himself was badly injured. Finishing the goal line, Mr. Noda, deputy commander, said "I feel strong gratitude toward all the firemen who relayed the sash and all the people who supported us. We could feel and deepen a bond with firemen across the nation through the relay road race."

【Photo: the finisher, deputy commander Mr. Noda】
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Citizens living in temporary housing and children in the neighborhood arrived on the scene to cheer firemen runners.

【Photo: Residents of the fourth Minamisakai temporary housing】
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【Photo: Ms. Sakagami and pupils of the second Minato primary school practice singing.】
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After the last runner hit the goal, all the people gathered took a commemorative photo. At the end, Meiko Sakagami sang "Thank you Fire Fighter", the theme song of musical, "Fireman's prayer", together with citizens and pupils with tears in their eyes.

The relics to "Thank you Fire Fighters." go like this.
Those words can never say what you mean to us,
Thank you Fire Fighters, for all the things you do
it's not just a job.....but a way of life.
These words are what we truly feel, it's all we have.
We give you from our hearts, from deep inside of us,
what mere words can not reveal.
NO matter what may happen, when our homes are up in flames
You don't even know our names, but you come through.....
'Tho your family understands, something it's all in vain.
They will always have you on their minds, They feel your stress
and in their dreams, they feel your pain.
Fear is not a part of what you're made of, not at all.
Danger is your companion, it's part of what you do.
Everyday risking your life to save others when you get the call.
I say "Thank you,""Arigato,"I say "Thank you."
Thank You Fire Fighters,

【Photo: Ms.Sakagami and children singing "Thank you Fire Fighters"】
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In his address of thanks, Mr. Hoshi, the fire chief of Ishinomaki fire department, said "My heart was full to hear that Kagoshima was not only among the first to send the search party from its fire department to Ishinomaki but also was where the relay road race started. Here in Ishinomaki, still shy of eight hundred people are missing, among them are four fellow firemen of ours. As we could renew our courage today, we reiterate our determination to find out as many missing persons as possible." All the people who gathered there observed one minute's silence for the victims of the earthquake at 2:46 p.m. with the sound of the fire bell pulled out of the rubble ringing.

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【Photo: Silent prayer at 2:46 p.m.】
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The closing ceremony of the relay road race completed after its planning committee exhibited the sash stained with sweat of runners and Japan's national flag with messages from fishermen across the country.

【Photo: Japan's national flag with messages written on it】
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This time the musical band of the fire department didn't give any performance using new donated instruments, because firemen continued their effort to search for missing people. We strongly hoped on that day that the day would come soon when we could listen to their spirited performance again.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
  Account holder: JEN

 
  Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card:
http://bit.ly/c7R8iA 
Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office (phone: 03-5225-9352, contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

September 20, 2012 in Tohoku earthquake |

The Villagers listened to the Sermons about Hygiene from Mullahs

Since our health education training for Mullahs, Muslim clerics, which the previous report talked about, Mullahs have told the villagers about hygiene in delivering a sermon at Friday worships in the mosques, Muslim worship places.

Here are some comments on hygiene by a few of the villagers living around the mosques, who listened to the sermons.

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“On Friday Mullah spent ten minutes telling us about health education, benefits of hygiene, and relation between hygiene and health before the worship. Thanks to it, we started having an interest in hygiene. Everyone said they would spread what they learned here to the people in the area.”
Samar Gul, Shepherd, from Gujar Khil Village, Bagram District

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“I had already realized the importance of hygiene, because my son had given me some information on hygiene he got at school. This time Mullah told me about it at the nearby mosque, which reminded me of how important it is to take hygiene in everyday life for health. I would like to tell all of my family members and make it a rule to keep hygiene with my son.”
Hanifullah, Security guard, from Medan Minara Village, Jabul Siraj District

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“I am glad that Mullah told me about health and hygiene based on the teachings of Islam.”
Anzar Gul, Farmer, from Qala Mir Village, Jabul Siraj District

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“I was told about hygiene at the mosque last month. Mullah told us that it is very important to put this advice into practice and share it with our family members for all of us being healthy. Now I know five key points of hygiene: water, food, tooth brushing, keeping ourselves clean, and life environment.”
Haji Khalid, Shop staff, from Lakar Gul Bahar Village, Jabul Siraj District

It increases ripple effects throughout the community that Mullahs, who took our health education training, spread the importance and information on hygiene at the mosque in addition to school teachers, who took the same training in the same areas. We are going to continue our support for healthy life of children and people in the areas.

September 20, 2012 in Afghanistan |

Monsoon Season in Dera Ismail Khan

In local language of D I Khan i.e. Saraiki Monsoon is called “Sawanr”. Its tenure is from Mid-July to mid-September every year. Since 2010 the monsoon heavy rains has caused flash floods and has damaged infrastructure and agriculture sector. 2010 floods flashed the cities of KPK, sindh and some districts of Punjab & Baluchistan.

The major parts of D.I.khan were hit by 2010 flood which caused approximately 15 casualties and 80 injuries. Flood 2010 affected 800,000 populations of D.I.Khan and also 32,000 IDPs families of South Waziristan agency. The rehabilitation process is still incomplete in D.I.khan for flood affectees. Several families are still striving to rebuild their houses and start their lives normally.

Currently flood forecasting division, PDMA and weather forecasting department’s forecasts heavy rains which may cause flash floods in D I Khan and other parts of the country. According to UNOCHA report, D I Khan has experienced urban flooding in recent wave of monsoon rains. Although there were no human causalities but some houses and roads are damaged including a bridge which was completely washed away.

United Nations has prepared contingency plan with the help of I/NGOs to cope with any circumstances resulted by monsoon. Government authorities are monitoring the situation although they have no formal contingency plan.

September 20, 2012 in Pakistan |

Introduction of a New Staff

Nice to meet you, I am Sasaki, and I have been appointed as an assistant manager of the general administration and accounting section in Amman.

It has been a week since I came to Jordan, but I am still not used to waking up with the azan every morning at 4:30 AM.

I want to get used to living here as soon as possible so I can contribute to  the reconstruction of Iraq to the best of my ability.

 In addition, I want to communicate many things about Iraq, Jordan, and other Middle Eastern countries through this blog to the readers in Japan.

Thank you.

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September 20, 2012 in Iraq |

2012.09.13

I went to Sri Lanka Festival!

How do you do? I’m Ueda, a program officer in the head office of JEN. I’m usually working for management of the project for Sri Lanka, but today I’d like to report you about “Sri Lanka Festival 2012” which was held on September 8th and 9th in Yoyogi Park.

【A scene of the event! So many people!】
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This is an annual event held by Sri Lankan Embassy. It was my first time to participate in it and I was so surprised at the number of the participants! Especially there were lines around the booths which were selling Sri Lankan tea and food. Spicy aroma spread and it made everyone feel exotic. I was happy to feel so many people had interest in Sri Lanka.

【A scene of the booths】
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【The booth of coconuts juice. They broke a coconut dynamically and put a straw just in front of me.】
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Various groups of dancers invited from Sri Lanka were performing traditional dances on the stage in the venue. Their costumes looked so vivid. The shapes of the drums were unique. It is so interesting, isn’t it?
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A special-feature program of the event was “The Talk Show by Wicky”!
Everyone, do you know Wicky
is from Sri Lanka? It has past 50 years since he came to Japan. He spoke his feeling about Japan and his impression of his experience to act in Miyagi prefecture after The Tohoku Earthquake. He sometimes spoke with unique humors.

Just after the earthquake, the Sri Lankan Embassy went to the stricken areas and started to distribute tea and curry rice despite a lot of people involving embassies built in Japan had escaped to their hometowns. Many events held by the embassies had been curtailed or called off because of the earthquake, but Sri Lanka Festival was held in the same scale as the last time. I felt kindness by Sri Lankan people and ties between Sri Lanka and Japan.

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Anyway, it was so hot (32 degrees) on the day of the event and many Japanese sweated a lot. On the other hand, Sri Lankan people had cool expressions on their faces although they were cooking and selling foods in their booths. They must be used to the heat.
I filled my stomach with curry rice, tandoori chicken and so on. I felt fun to experience Sri Lankan culture and it was a nice weekend I could feel Sri Lanka closer than before.

September 13, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

A small bridge between the elementary school students of South Sudan and Miyagi Prefecture

In the past few days, elementary school students of Miyagi Prefecture, and those of South Sudan have enjoyed a small cultural exchange. Miyagi Prefecture’s Hirobuchi Youth Club (Ishinomaki City) and FC Impulse (Higashimatsushima City) participated in a soccer class held by former J-League player Teruo Iwamoto, and also paid us a visit at JEN’s Tokyo headquarters. Here at the headquarters, the children learnt about JEN’s activities, classes focused on sanitation in South Sudan, as well as performing the ‘Handwashing Dance’. Before the end of the visit, each of the children kindly wrote a letter to their counterparts in South Sudan.

[photo]
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Everyone’s warm messages, all the way to South Sudan!! The letters were safely delivered to our friends in Jaba Primary School, located in Morobo County. Jaba Primary School is just one of the schools JEN has worked with in the past, with the excavation of a well, installation of toilet facilities and promotion of sanitation workshops; something which still continues to this day.

[photo]
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We were then treated to a song about sanitation, performed by the students of Jaba Primary School. With the “hygiene club” leading the stage, everyone joined in the song.

The lyrics included messages such as “Let’s go to school. There, let’s learn about sanitation. Let’s cook and eat properly, and live healthily.”

In actuality, the sanitation song is a piece put together by the teachers and “hygiene club” members of different schools- therefore the lyrics and dance slightly vary depending on the school.

[photo]
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In South Sudan, soccer is loved by children and adults alike. As expressed in the letters, should a day come where they could all enjoy a game of soccer as representatives of Japan and South Sudan, it would be a day enjoyed by all.

September 13, 2012 in South Sudan |

Hama-yu, a meeting house of Sasunohama is inaugurated!

On September 9, "Sasunohama-Goya(Hama-yu)"---a pre-fab hut by the sea in Sasunohama village---was inaugurated. "Sasunohama-Goya" is a public place for people in the village community to hold meetings.

【The ceremony is held inside the tent set up before the hut with big-catch flags flying. 】
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Sasunohama is a small village located at the base of the Oshika peninsula. There used to live forty families before the disaster, but now only seven of them remain because many houses have been washed away by the tsunami. Other families are still taking shelter apart at relatives' homes or temporary housing.
JEN is working on two assistance projects in parallel which provide fishermen with fishing equipments and local communities with voluntary services respectively, having had discussions and workshops in advancing these projects.
During the discussion, participants expressed a desire, "We need a place where any villagers not only who remain in the village but also who are temporary living away from the village can get together." and so Sasunohama-Goya was set up.

【After an opening speech from a person involved, the key to the Hama-yu was handed to villagers】
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People in the village decided to give a nickname, Hama-yu, to the meeting place through their talks, the word-for-word translation of which nickname from Kanji to English is "beach-friend", because the nickname has the same sound as a vernacular word, "beach-play" in Kanji, that means children play on the beach or on the boat.

【Villagers and people involved together in a photo.】
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It was a builder with its headquarter in Hamadori(Coastal region), Fukushima prefecture that took on the construction of the meeting house. They say that they set up a branch office in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture and began their business after the earthquake and the subsequent nuclear accident. A staff of the builder said in his speech "We will make efforts to work for the recovery of the areas stricken by the disaster here in Miyagi prefecture until the day when we are able to come back to our home town."

【A get-together after the ceremony.】
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【Village women take care of cooking.】
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In Sasuno-hama, oysters are going to be shipped this fall and so it's now being planned to open a Kaki-goya, a store that provides tourists and volunteers with oysters fresh from the sea in time for the oyster season.
IIf everything goes well, the store will be open for business in mid October at a booth attached to Hama-yu.
We will continue to provide our breaking assistance news just in time on how people in fishery village advance step by step for months to come.
We would like to ask you for the understanding and cooperation to our activities.
Both the Sanrikukahoku Shinpou dated September 8 and the Ishinomaki-nichinichi Shinbunn dated September 10 covered the inauguration ceremony. Do go through those newspapers.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
   Account holder: JEN

 
   Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card:
http://bit.ly/c7R8iA 
   Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office (phone: 03-5225-9352, contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

September 13, 2012 in Tohoku earthquake |

Keep speaking the truth.

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[An idea about the vision of some NGOs in Haiti]

Nowadays, both social media and advocacy organizations have changed a concept, transparency, into a norm. This evolution should positively affect the humanitarian world. Indeed, transparency is one of the humanitarian principles since ever. It avoids phantasmagorias. It protects us and is the best enemy of corruption. It allows better evaluation, monitoring and analysis, which are keys of success and improvements in our programs. It allows also better accountability towards beneficiaries, but also towards donors.

In one of the poorest country worldwide, Haiti, many people have access to mobile phones and to internet. Anyone can then spread easily bad information on organizations, on people, on projects. No matter if these information are true or not. Yet, the only efficient counter-measure that exists is transparency, especially for small organizations that does not have the weight to engage in counter-information. If an organization is truly transparent, anyone could easily cross-check information to see if it’s true or not.

The reality is that humanitarian program does not work perfectly as it has been forecast. Never. It has been written one day, sometimes only after a quick and basic evaluation of the problems and the possible solutions. It has been submitted days or weeks later, often approved after weeks or months of biding. Between the first idea and the start of a project it is not rare to have months, except hopefully during emergency phases. In any place, worldwide, during these months the context, the problems, the realities change. In addition, once the project started you have to face new problems, to correct mistakes (errare humanum est) and sometimes to overpass your own incompetency, or those of your staff, the authorities or some subcontractors. This is actually one of the things that is common to every genuine humanitarian worker: the capacity to find solutions to any kind of problem. Even to those that do not exist officially.

Actually a humanitarian program is similar to the life. The more you overpass mistakes and problems, the more you will grow up and become a respected, competent and strong person; the more you develop empathy, the more you will understand others and be able to live within a society.
In Haiti problems are legions. We would not be here if it would not be the case. JEN operations in Haiti are not perfect, while relatively coherent, and above all still useful for the population.

Our job is to understand these above-mentioned problems and to develop solutions.  Our job is also to live with Haitians, to have empathy with those we meet, to understand them, their education and their culture, which enables a better adaptation of our programs to their needs. Furthermore, our job is to confront our difficulties and our mistakes to overpass them to better support the country and its inhabitants.

All the competencies present in the team are tools for such a success. And transparency is our best ally.

(Haiti Head of office Cedlic Turlan)

September 13, 2012 in Haiti |

2012.09.12

Needs Survey for 2013 activities

JEN have started surveys to investigate the needs for school environment and health education programs from late June. This survey is for our activities planned in 2013.

JEN is planning to operate our programs in two districts located in the most west part of Parwan province, Shikh Ali district and Surkh Parsa district next year. These two districts are remoted from Charikar district, where we have our domitory, by other neighbouring two districts which anti-goverment forces are still active. Due to this reason we are paying a great attention to the safety plan and analizing the latest security situation in these districts.

Untill today we have completed hearing survey to teachers, people in the community and parents in 31 schools in Shikh Ali district and 39 schools in Surkh Parsa district. We would like to show you the cuurent situation of schools in these districts.

This kind of house made of clay is called “Katcha”. There are many Katchas in Afganistan and other regions like Pakistan and India. These houses are very vulnerable to natural disaster and can be a risk to children's safety.
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The School buildings were built by concrete but inside are in decay. Some schools have no desks.
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Many schools are short of rooms or even having no rooms for classroom. Therefore students have to study outside under the strong sunlight.
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This is a toilet in one school. We found many toilets which are not sanitary sufficient.
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Since there are no water pipes, wells, or places to wash their hands, students are using water in the place like nearby river to wash their hands and also drinking.
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Based on the findings in this survey, we are later going to have technical surveys and then start making specific plans for the school facilty restoration project. 

September 12, 2012 in Community Reconstruction |

2012.09.06

A Hardworking Worker Mr. Hizbullah (Bukhari)

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”   
  (Colin Powell)

This is the story of a young 25 years old guy named “Hizbullah” who has been working from the Vendor side at JEN’s warehouse since September 2011 (Pilot Project). His nick name is Bukhari.

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He belongs to a poor family of village Wanda Umer Khan, Tehsil Paharpur, district Dera Ismail Khan. Responsibility, punctuality, hard working and honesty, all these qualities are present in Mr. Hizbullah’s personality. He is an animal loving person indeed. He loves to stay with the animals and ties to care them. He has been trying to learn knowledge about animals and to get more know-how and expertise in this particular field he joined Dr. Saeed Ullah (A Local Veterinary Officer) in 2003 onward. He has been working with Dr. Saeed Ullah for last 10 years. Now he is well trained and has got good knowledge about animals and their management.

Due to his interest in animals and know-how about animals’ health and management tools, he is assigned as worker at JEN’s warehouse who oversees all the warehouse’s activities under the guiding directions of JEN Livestock Expert and Veterinary Assistants. He is honestly working very hard. He takes full participation in all warehouse’s activities like grazing the goat, cutting and chopping grass, cleanliness of warehouse, feeding and watering practices, helping Veterinary Assistants in vaccination and treatment of goats and arranging medicine from the market for goats on veterinary Doctor’s demand.

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With the Veterinary Doctors advice, he also gives first aid to diseased goat.

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According to Hizbullah, “The animals do not speak and do not walk like humans, doesn't mean they should be treated differently. In fact, they do not speak so they should be treated and looked after well”.  Once, one of the goats got anorexia (Loss of appetite) disease at JEN warehouse and couldn’t eat properly, although the goat was kept under observation by Veterinary Assistants as well but Mr. Bukhari even looked her after in awkward hours of the day and finally the goat became healthy enough to be distributed. The most interesting thing Mr. Bukhari does is to offer candies to warehouse staff when a goat gives birth to baby goat as it is in our culture to distribute sweets called Methai in neighborhood when a human baby is born.

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Besides all these activities he performs so many other duties willingly. He treats the labors very politely. He ensures food availability to his staff daily and makes even breakfast, lunch and dinner for them. In case of any health problem to any of his co-worker, he takes him to the hospital and takes good care of him. In short, he has an ideal and adorable personality.

September 6, 2012 in Pakistan |

“Pray for Japan”, the movie about the Great East Japan Earthquake, was shown in Jordan

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Under the auspices of Her Highness Princess Reem Ali and the Embassy of Japan in Jordan, the screening of the feature documentary film honoring the heroes of Japan’s tsunami tragedy (Pray for Japan) was held in the Royal Film Commission in Amman-Jordan on August 29th, 2012 in the presence of the film’s director Mr. Stu Levy,

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The evening began with a speech by the Japanese ambassador to Jordan highlighting what happened in Japan in March 2011 and how the international community had consolidated around the Japanese people in a show of solidarity,
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The film director also gave a speech talking about his experience when the earthquake hit while he was in Tokyo and his experience as volunteer at Ishinomaki city in Miyagi prefecture after the tsunami

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The movie itself was not easy to watch, for the amount of the devastation shown in it, and I cried during the story of the boy who lost mother and little brother along with his grandparents in the tsunami .

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Watching the  Q&A session after the screening, showed that most of the attendees were also moved by what they saw and had favorable impressions of the movie and the fighting spirit of the Japanese people in face of adversity and their questions reflected that and their understanding of the victims’ plight.

September 6, 2012 in Iraq |

Strengthening our acceptance strategy, a daily effort

Security management is first of all a lot of common sense. In addition, humanitarian security needs to be seen as a way to enable a better access to communities, as well as protection to these communities to access the aid system. Each JEN office must adapt a local security protocol which reflects JEN’s Organizational mission, its own specific country mission and includes each of the three elements of the security triangle: acceptance, protection, and deterrence.  An effective local security protocol must balance all three elements.

In a country like Haiti, where main security threats are to be at the wrong place at the wrong moment, or to become a target for criminals, a strong acceptance strategy with supportive protection and deterrence elements is ideal.  Acceptance is never granted and has to be built on daily basis, through the programmes of course, but also through all the networking and the links that are built with the communities where we work and whom we live amongst.

In Grand Goave we live in the countryside, in a nice house above the beach. It’s relatively easy to build strong relationships with the entire neighborhood. Especially that we have implemented projects there over the last 2.5 years and are supported by our guardians who are all from the close area. Acceptance is then the major part of our security there, under the condition to be strengthened every day.

In Leogane, a larger city, our past and current programmes help. Nevertheless new relations built with the neighborhood are strongly needed to ensure other residents consider us as part of them, and so offer the same protection than for all inhabitants. It had been quite well developed by the team, talking with residents, going to the front shop, walking the streets, sometimes sharing some songs of pleasure… This was fortunate: due to the work we are supporting in the streets of Leogane, the surrounding wall collapsed, as it happened for many residents. But this is not a real problem finally. On one hand it showed that we do not have a specific situation towards the construction work: we are like all residents. On the other hand, everybody knows the team; nobody would have the idea to come in without being invited. Of course our guards remain there, as protection and deterrence to support this acceptance strategy, but everything’s fine so far.


Leogane’s JEN Compound’s broken surrounding wall
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In Port au prince, where we just moved in a new area, the acceptance challenge is more important and needs to be tackled with energy: we cannot count on our programs, as we never developed any in the capital. That’s why efforts are done to meet neighbors, to be seen in the street, to be known.
Few hours after we arrived, most of the area already knew that foreigners now lived here, would have they seen us or not. Therefore it would have been a huge mistake, reinforcing eventual rumors or phantasmagorias, to live enclosed within our walls. That’s why, with the support of our guards, we have decided to open the doors during the day, and so to live in true relation with our neighborhood. This is like this Haitians live, so we. Till now it works, and it looks like people understands that, finally, we are not so different and without anything to hide.
The more they will know us, the more we’ll be protected.


Port au Prince’s JEN compound entrance
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September 6, 2012 in Haiti |

Muslim Culture Glimpsed through My Business Trip

I am Megumi Fujita, in charge of Afghanistan projects in Tokyo Head Office. I have been in Islamabad Office on an extended business trip since 10 August 2012. I haven’t been here for long time yet though, I would like to write about my impression of Islamabad, the capital of Afghanistan, and its culture.

Islamabad is rich in green and nature―indeed my impression of this city has changed a lot since I have come here. You can see green everywhere, hearing birds chirp; I’ve seen woodpeckers in the office of JEN several times. In the central area of the city there are a green-abundant huge park and a few hills, where people come with their families and friends. Also Islamabad has Faisal Mosque, the biggest mosque in South Asia.
[A view of Islamabad from a hill]
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[A night view of Islamabad from Monal―a restaurant on the hill. Photographed by Azmat Ali]
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[A night view of Faisal Mosque during Ramadan. Photographed by Azmat Ali]
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It was during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan―from 20 July to 18 August―when I arrived here. For the duration of Ramadan Muslims fast during the daytime and have meals between after sunset and before dawn. All of the restaurants except Western fast-food shops are closed during the day. In Islam, it is said experiencing fasting in Ramadan helps people know what a blessing it is to have food.

Muslims perform prayers five times a day; the Muslim staff of JEN Islamabad Office also pray at the office. Friday is a holiday in Islam, when Muslims close their shops to go to a congregational worship. There is a mosque near every market lined with a variety of shops. I realized that Islam is closely related to daily life becoming one with Muslims’ lives naturally.

I tried Mehndi, which is a tradition of Islam and Hinduism. It is to paint a pattern on the skin with paste made from Henna leaves. In Pakistan Mehndi is not only for make-up, but also people paint a pattern on the palm and the back of the hand for wedding. Also it is said Mehndi is a symbol of “happiness” and “luck”.

Paste of Henna, which is in the holder similar to a decorating tube, is squeezed in a decorative pattern. Once Henna paste is dry it is removed, then a mixture of water and sugar is sprinkled on the skin to keep the pattern longer. The pattern remains for about no less than one to two weeks, which varies from person to person. You might have dyed you hair using Henna at a hair salon in Japan, and that Henna is the exactly same as the one used for Mehndi.
[Getting Mehndi painted by a staff of JEN Islamabad]
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[Drying Mehndi up]
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[And voila!]
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I would like to continue to learn much about Islamic culture, its life and Muslims, and discover them in many ways through my business trip. Also I am going to report the beautiful culture, daily life and people in Pakistan, as little is known about them in Japan.

September 6, 2012 in Afghanistan |

A Project to help fishermen make their livings; the second report from Omotehama

I know it's sudden, but do you know what this device the fisherman holds in his hands is used for catching?

【A plastic pot and a weight are added to the one end of a rope.】
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It is not visible externally but it has a funnel shaped entrance at one end with a hole at the tip so that, if targets once wander into it through the hole, they can't get out of it. He says that it used to be made of bamboo. This is Dou, a trap to catch congers that are in season now.

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JEN is assisting fishermen in providing fishing equipments they are in need of to help fishermen live by fishing, finding out their needs through fishermen's cooperative they belong. Omotehama fishermen's cooperative requested these rolls of rope for conger fishing. The photo shows the fishing equipments being carried into the fishermen's cooperative. They were allocated to fishermen according to the level of their operation. Each fisherman puts ropes and pots together to make traps for their fishing back home.

【Fishermen can't help smiling when fishing equipments were allocated.】
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【There are 47 admitted conger fishermen in Omotehama; 21 of them actually fish for congers】
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This photo shows fishermen preparing for the day's fishing. Traps are arranged neatly on a fishing boat. They say a boat of this size in the photo--eight ton--can carry as many as 1,200 traps in all and it takes four to five persons to load. The total extension of the traps is as long as 20 kilometers.

From what I heard, they fish for congers nearly fifteen to seventeen times a month, though it depends on the weather.

【Fishermen who lost their boats board fellow fishermen's boats.】
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Mr. Osawa who is one of the admitted conger fishermen said a bit humorously "Even after the disaster, what we can harvest from the sea remain unchanged and I'm proud of what I had been doing and so I must resume it at first. I suffered from the disaster, but I have never thought about giving up fishing for that reason. By that argument, whenever I'm on the boat, I always "feel terrible", or "feel like quitting fishing", so I did even before the disaster. Even fishermen get seasick. We just endure it (laugh)."

Resuming what they had been doing before the disaster: It's not well known that Omotehama is one of the nationwide conger fishing places; Omotehama used to the largest congers fishing place in Japan, still the largest in eastern Japan. The conger fishing is at its peak from July to September and continues until around December. He said "Because my boat have survived the tsunami, I can continue my fishery and so I even think that it's an obligation for fishermen whose boats have survived like me to show other fishermen to follow that 'We aren't over yet!'"

【Harvested congers. Both catches and market price stay at the same level as in an average year.】
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【A photo taken with admitted conger fishermen 】
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It's true that the conger fishing has resumed but in the meantime however, they have a long way to rebuild houses and the wharf of their fishing port, regain boats and recover fisheries.
JEN will continue its activities with fishermen there.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
  Account holder: JEN

 
  Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card:
http://bit.ly/c7R8iA 
  Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office (phone: 03-5225-9352, contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

September 6, 2012 in Tohoku earthquake |