My Red Cross Story (2) Chiharu Fuse

My Red Cross Story: It is not Enough only to Think about or Wishto do Something!"
By:Chiharu Fuse,Disaster relief volunteer (Vocational school student)

After my high school graduation, I was having a relaxed time considering my options for spending the spring in a leisurely manner...
Then, all of a sudden, an earthquake hit.
I was speechless as I watched the TV.
The Tohoku region was struck by a series of tsunami.
What!?
Was Asashi-city in Chiba Prefecture struck as well!?
To my amazement, disaster had struck our neighboring city.
My God I thought, I have to do something...

For three years in high school, as an extracurricular activity, I used to work as a Junior Red Cross volunteer.
It was in junior high school that I first took an interest in volunteer activities.
I once helped out children with disabilities at the sports day of a special needs school.
I remember vividly that despite their disabilities, the children were trying their best.
It was a heart-warming experience.

When I was in second grade in high school, I took a training course for Red Cross disaster volunteers on the recommendation of a member of the Japanese Red Cross, and I became the district leader, unusual for a high school student.
I felt happy that I could be useful to the community in an emergency…
I was taking it easy and lightly.
Then, out of the blue, a real earthquake hit…
I thought to myself that I should do something, so I participated in the Disaster Relief Volunteer Center of Asashi-city.

“Notice, think and act”
I learned this from the Red Cross.
I also learned that “thinking nothing” and “thinking but doing nothing” are the same thing.
I believe it is not enough only to think about or wish to do something.

I also went to the disaster-stricken areas of Fukushima as a member of another volunteer group.
This was my first experience of traveling such a long distance without my parents.
I passed through a place where a fire had taken place after the tsunami.
I was speechless when I saw a burnt photo album at the burnt-out site.

Since April I have attended a welfare vocational school.
During a class, a teacher told us that he had lost a family member living in Miyagi Prefecture in the tsunami and asked whether any of us had been to the disaster areas.
I said yes, and I was urged to talk about my experience.
To my great surprise, while I was talking about it, I did not know why, tears started to fall down my face and continued to flow.
I tried in vain to convey what I had seen in Fukushima.
When I finished my talk, I felt very disappointed with myself, thinking- that I could not convey well enough what I had seen…
It turned out that I was worrying needlessly.
One of my classmates approached me and said, “I would like to be the district leader for my community. Tell me how I can participate in a training course.”

I felt very happy and grateful!

* The original text was compiled in a book "Watashi no nakano Sekijyuji " published by PHP Institute. Translation and editing for English text was conducted by the Japanese Red Cross.