I remember first hearing about the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan in 2011 while I was on break at my part time job in Canada. I was overwhelmed with grief for the nation. I couldn’t even begin to image the nightmare that had just become a reality for thousands of Japanese. Lost homes, lost friends and family! For the next several weeks the disaster in Japan monopolized the news channels, and emergency help volunteer groups from all over were headed to Japan. My workplace even made Red Cross donation opportunities available for customers who wanted to help. As if it couldn’t get any worse, news came out about the nuclear plant meltdown in Fukushima. More devastation, more displacement of families, and now the concern of radiation poisoning and associated diseases. After a while, the news about Japan slowly subsided and only once in a while a new story would pop up, often to do with fears of radiation reaching the coast of Canada.
Once media regarding the disaster slowed down it was easy to forget, and to believe that everything was alright again. Which, of course, is far from the truth. Thousands of lives were lost, and five years since the disaster many people remain displaced, especially those from Fukushima. Radiation-caused diseases are also a serious concern for those who were in Fukushima at the time of the disaster and for those who remain there.
As a volunteer at Fukushima Dolphin Camp I hope to somehow make a difference in the lives of children from Fukushima. These kids have spent half or more of their lives being influenced by the disaster. Some parents encourage their children not to play outside or go in the ocean, and of course there’s the looming fear that at any moment they could develop a serious radiation-caused disease. Dolphin Camp offers them an opportunity to experience nature, become refreshed, and just enjoy being children. I think Fukushima Dolphin Camp is such a great cause, and I’m excited be a part of this team!