By: Nelson Auner, VFP scholarship winner to Japan, 2012
I am staying in Oda-shi, a town of 40,000 inhabitants and many rice farms, but the main focus of the work camp (and really of Oda-shi) is Iwami Ginzan, an ancient silver mine about 20 mins drive away.
We did agricultural work which included cutting down bamboo trees. Coming from the US, I had preconceived notions of bamboo trees as being more pristine and holy (I’m thinking of the background to my favorite fight scenes from crouching tiger, hidden dragon), whereas in reality, they’re quite weed-like, growing very quickly and blocking out the other trees for sun.
The second week the other volunteers and I put together a presentation to teach the children about our cultures. I made my new US poster featuring polar bears, Disney land, and Barack Obama.
Once a year, Ohda-shi hosts a large festival/fair, and it’s a tradition of the NPO that we work with to raise money by having the international volunteers cook and sell food. So the second week we were tasked with preparing for the food stands. We needed signs for every country, food, tents and cooking equipment, etc. This was a cultural event so we had food from all different parts of the world. I helped with the pizza and lemonade for “American” food.
Click Here to view Nelson’s full blog with photos!