Teatro Akebono Tour 2016
Teatro Abebono team left for Japan last May 14, 2016 for the Crane Dog Musical Play. It includes 6 Japanese Filipino Children (JFC) age from 11 to 21 years old, accompanied by the DAWN Executive Director Carmelita Nuqui, staff, and a volunteer. The team was welcome in Narita Airport by Nat-chan, Kaoushou and university students. Stayed in Aichi Prefecture and in the morning attended the Holy Catholic Mass in Kozougi Church.
Teatro Akebono spent 18 days in Japan. They performed in Kyoto University headed by Wako-senshai, Kansai University Yochisda-sensai, Saitama University Imagawa-sensai, Chiba University Tamura-sensai, Kanda University for International Studies (KUIS), Ferris Women University and Yutorito Higashi-Osaka and Aichi prefectures.
The performances got a good review from the students, professors and other participants. They were touched and teary-eyed not only by the performances but the story itself because it has a personal attachment for the JFC. During the questions and answers portion the audience asked how they cope with their situation, what are the lessons they learned growing up and how they blend with other children. They were surprised because the JFC didn’t abhor or have any ill-feelings towards the father but they long for their presence and the desire to create priceless moment with them. Travelling to Japan provides the benefit of sightseeing and a chance to experience the customs and culture of the counterpart country. The children also had a chance to share the Philippines traditions and cultures. It gives scope to have firsthand knowledge of variegated people inhabiting the world. During the University tour, JFC had the opportunity to mingled with the professors and college students, share experiences and what are the things they look forward to. These activities open doors for friendship and future partnership not only with the children but for the organization.
On the tenth day, we had a courtesy visit to Philippine Embassy in Japan. We were received by Ambassador Manuel Lopez. The JFC had a dance performance. We also visited Peaceboat, they were received by warm welcome from the organizer.
JFC visited Rose Garden too. They were amazed how beautiful the garden was and roses were nurtured and cultivated well. During the stay in Saitama they were also given an opportunity to experience farming. They even had a small portion in Natchang farm name Akebono, each JFC participate in gardening, they planted strawberries, Zucchinis and pumpkins. Farming is a good activity for the children becauseit helps them appreciate the old lifestyle of our ancestors.
The group of Chiho-sensai treats Akebono team to visits the Yokohoma Tower, everyone enjoyed and thankful for the experience. The JFC also went to Osaka Zoo thru the initiative of University students, joined the barbecue party with the professors and another one with the religious leader in Saitama.DAWN meeting with volunteers took place @ Tetsudo Kosai Kaikan, Tokyo last May 28, 2016 attendees were Executive Director Carmelita Nuqui, Chiho Ogaya, Kazuo Inoue, Natsuyuki Imagawa, Miki Kuroyanagi, Ai Fujiwara, Sumire Usui, Philip Sasaki, Momoka Osakabe, Fumiko Kuramochi, Kyutoku Hisae, Tsuyoshi Imai, Mary Joy Barcelona and Gemma Comiso. The group discussed the status of the organization, possible partnership with other organizations and what to look forward in the future presentations of Teatro Akebono. Over-all the Akebono Tour was a success.
Personal Reflections as a Volunteer
Traveling is the kind of activity I enjoyed most for it is my opportunity to relax and be detach from my busy schedule even just for a while. Japan is in the top of my bucket lists in country of destination I dream to visits. My planned to see the place was hampered because some of my friends failed to get the visa, I was discouraged to try. I told myself perhaps in my retiring years my bucket list will be fulfilled not knowing 2016 will be my lucky year. When I found out that I was part of the Akebono Team I was so excited, hundred questions stampeded through my mind. I couldn’t even get a good sleep, but I just kept it to myself. I was so excited to see, observe the way people of other cultures and mentality live.
They say, one cannot appreciate the work of art created by master hands unless one visits places and enjoy things. Japan never failed my expectations. It was a trip of a lifetime. Visiting Yokohama Tower, Chiba Park, Yokohama Temple and China Town bring the kid inside me. Having to enjoy the nature, see the entire city, experience their faith and strolled in the biggest China Town in the world is unexplainable. Japanese are well-mannered and discipline, women are extremely shy but once you know them you’ll realize how hospitable and friendly they are. One thing I appreciate in Japan is how they’re ‘’obsessed” with cleanliness. The transportation is very convenient and stress free. No heavy traffic. Shinkansen is the superb experience that I wish my own country has it. There’s just one thing I find it awkward, the “oporo” moment bathing together naked. I am not used to being exposed in such environment.
How would you feel meeting your father after 16 years? I could not fathom why a father could abandon his child for so long. The unforgettable moment happened when I had witnessed the reunion of JFC with their fathers. We travelled to Northern part of Japan, 4 hours trip to Kumamoto from Osaka. The 2nd one happened in Chiba. It was so touching and emotional encountered because it was the first time for the JFC to meet her father. I can see on the child that the longing was intense, and I could see in father eyes the unspoken love for the child. It was 16 years of uncertainty for the child but now her life is complete. The void and apprehension in the split of seconds evaporated. I had also a chance of bonding with her and somehow asked how it was like growing up with up without a father. She told me that her life had a missing piece which she could not understand, there is a void in her heart that only a father could fill. I cried in silence seeing them together, that finally the child dream is now a reality. I realized how blessed I am, for I had experienced a complete family. It was an eye opening for me, that life has full of burdens and struggles but every hardship is a path way to a better life, to become a better person and appreciate the Divine Wisdom. I must admit too, in my younger years I envied my playmates who lived in luxury, and pampered by parents but now I value them more than ever. I also become closer to the JFC and build friendship with them.
Lastly, I considered my Japan trip as a blessing. I will be forever grateful and thankful to DAWN especially to Ma’am Mel because it was a life changing experience, it ignites my desire to serve and embrace the volunteerism I am into. This is the life I chose now, so I promise to do it with all my heart and offer everything to Him.