As I sit down to write my blog, my mind wanders to the people of Japan who have suffered great loss in this tragic tsunami. The devastation continues to unravel with the aftershocks. As this tragic event brings our world closer together, the Japanese people need our continued help and prayers.
Justin, 14, my eldest son, is currently in the Japanese exchange program at Ponus Ridge Middle School. He has taken Japanese since he was in 6th grade, and has been looking forward to traveling to Chiba, Japan, this coming May, as an eighth grader. In their travels to Chiba, our students will stay with host families for two weeks. Our children will be taken in by these warm and nurturing families, go to school with their children, spend evenings with their families and spend weekends seeing the sights.
This Thursday, we are expecting 16 children from Chiba to stay with our families here in Norwalk for two weeks. As of the last update from the school, the kids are still coming. We have spent months preparing for their visit. We have planned a welcome reception, an ice-skating party, a bowling night, a pot luck supper and a rock climbing event for their stay. Most of our Norwalk host families will be taking the Chiba students into NYC on the weekend to show them the Big Apple, as it is the first, and possibly the only visit for many of these young students to see the U.S.
As of now, we have no news to report from our Chiba families. We all sit on edge, wondering how they have fared and what losses they may be suffering. We share their fears and we send prayers their way. Chiba is on Tokyo Bay about 12 minutes south of Tokyo and has an oil refinery plant that has been burning since Friday.
More than 200,000 people had been moved to relief shelters, including tens of thousands evacuated from areas around troubled nuclear facilities.
Millions of homes remain without power or water. In many parts of the country, supplies of basic necessities from gasoline to instant noodles have dwindled, as survivors face difficulties meeting essential needs. This video from Chiba City shows the liquification of the earth.
Let's all continue to pray for the survivors, their loved ones, the evacuees, the rescue workers, all of those in harms way of the nuclear reactors and meltdowns, those who suffer from illness, disease and shortages of all the basics we take for granted.
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