Dated on Dec 6, 2001 from Kashiwa

/A Correspondent in the Battlefield/

After the ASAC General Meeting, being alarmed about my health, I took a vacation. I must have been exhausted after being in Cambodia for ten years. This is the first time in a long while that I have relaxed. Living in a iron-barred house was like living in a prison. I found myself more relaxed just locking my house. Being used to peace is the nature of people living in Japan. At least now I don't feel tense just by keeping keys on me. In my living room, I see different pictures of Afghanistan coming in every day on TV. They remind me of the scenes of wartime Cambodia. I would like to go and see Afghanistan myself. One of my friends and a freelance journalist, Mr. Shinsuke Hashida went to Afghanistan soon after the war broke out. I received a letter from his wife, who used to complain about the life where we are too accustomed to peace, and it said, " I could see Kunduz fall and this journey turned out to be a fruitful one for us." Mr. Hashida's book, "Battlefield Correspondence" has just been released(published by the Jitsugyo-no-Nippon Company). I enjoyed the book very much probably because I myself knew what that kind of life was like. Cambodia is not alone in having educational problems. Nor the smiles of children we see on TV. Children's smiles are the common language of the world.

/Underlying Power of E-mail/

The Phnom Penh Office is administered by our new staff member, Mr. Sakakibara. He had experience with office work twice before and at last, his desire has been met and he is now an NGO worker. He only works part-time though, as he is studying English at school. The first School-Opening Ceremony after the General Meeting was on Nov.14th, which was his second ceremony, attending as a deputy representative. He sent me e-mails every day asking for checks on his speech and for collecting necessary documents. I was impressed by his earnestness and I felt like rooting more for him. The power of e-mail is great enough to overcome the distance where it would take two days to travel between the countries. Cambodian staff obtained their own e-mail address with a free mail service.

/Annual Report, Annual Inspection/

The total number of ASAC schools is approaching sixty. We have checked the condition of the buildings, how they are used, and the number of students enrolled annually since our project started. However, as the number of schools increases, this operation has become quite difficult. All these schools are located in distant places! A new school term started in October and when the registration of students was completed, Boramy and Sona took charge and went to check the schools. Although Cambodian are strong, Boramy and Sona are in their forties and they both seemed to have been exhausted. You need to be very strong to survive this kind of trip. Strengthen your body, young people! It is the Japanese staff who falls fast asleep on the way while the Cambodian staff keeps talking all the way.

/School Education by Introducing the Cambodian Situation/

I talked about my experience in Cambodia at Yasakae Primary School in Funabashi city on the 11th of October. Let me introduce you to some of the students' lovely comments.
I was under the impression that Cambodia was situated near Afghanistan and it was a dangerous country to live in.(Yano) I thought we should never start a war. (Ishihara) I realized that even though Cambodia is different, Cambodians are the same people as we are, all living on the earth.(Ohno) We have taken material things for granted but I felt we are losing touch with our hearts.(Maki) I want to do whatever I can. (Okita) I realized just how happy we are.(Fujishiro) I want to do what I can for them.(Suzuki) Now I am determined to study more.( Yokokoji)
I was deeply impressed by the children's innocence and their twinkling eyes.

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