We provide an authentic countryside Japanese experinece in Nishiawakura Village, Okayama Prefecture.

Read Salimata Badji Night's experience of summer 2012 with us!

サリーの西粟倉ホームステイ体験談

 

I am happy that I made the decision to come to Nishiawakura village for my holiday this year!今年のホリデーは西粟倉に決めて本当によかった!I have spent the last six weeks in a nice surrounding with great people. Nishiawakura is surrounded by beautiful mountains, rice fields and rivers. There is constant flow of fresh and clear water running through the village which gives it vitality and a sense of perpetual renewal.私はこの夏の6週間を、ステキな自然環境の中で、素晴らしい人達と交流しながら過ごしました。Nishiawakura is a small village of 1,600 inhabitants in Okayama prefecture situated in the South West of Japan. The village is well run and organised, which seems the norm in Japan. I have noticed that whatever people do, they work hard at it. This is simply a way of life! Everyone is equipped with disciple and good work ethics! Hiromi’s mother wakes up at 5am and works around the house and in the garden until 10pm in the evening non-stop! My hosts too, Olivier and Hiromi work all the time while raising their two young boys in a spirit of "not wasting any time". 西粟倉は岡山県北東部にある人口1,600人の村です。岡山県は西日本にあります。この村ではすべてがスムーズに運営されているような印象を受けました。だけど、日本ではそれが普通のようです。

I have been fortunate enough to meet many people representing many walks of life here in Nishiawakura. It has been an interesting and fulfilling experience. There is a strong unity among the people of the village and this is towards one goal "the progress of Nishiawakura for now and in the future ". There is a will to make the place welcoming for visitors and tourists. I was amazed to see how quickly a part of the highway was completed in a short period of mere two weeks! I also find that overall there is a genuine sense of appreciation and respect towards me. A little girl even told her mum that she wanted to have a dark skin like mine! We all laughed and encouraged her to do loads of tanning. I was given many opportunities to volunteer in the village. I spent a day in the kindergarten and helped with looking after the children. Then I was invited to visit the primary school the following week. I also went to help at a farm/art craft fair in Tottori prefecture. I joined the blueberry farmer and his family selling and introducing their products on a sunny Saturday. Over the last 15 years I have volunteered and fundraised throughout the UK and abroad for “The Victoria Climbie Foundation UK” and “FORWARD”, for the welfare of children. My stay in Nishiawakura, has revived my passion to create cultural exchange opportunities between people of diverse cultural backgrounds through the arts. I have decided to support Hiromi’s dream to bring Nishiawakura Taiko Drumming Group to London to perfrom in 2014. I also started the process of setting up a pen pal scheme between the children of Djinaky in Casamance, Senegal (West Africa) and Nishiawakura. The school in Djinaky where I am from caters for the children living in 25 surrounding villages of the area. I am leaving Nishiawakura with my heart full of appreciation and wonderful memories and looking forward to the next part of my journey in this life…

 

滞在中には本当に色々な交流の場を与えてもらいました。まず、地元の幼稚園、そして、小学校も訪問し、一緒にアフリカの踊りをしたり、給食も食べました。また、地元の木村農園さんのお手伝いで、鳥取の船岡で開催されたクラフトフェアに行き、手作りジャムなどを販売しました。この15年間、私は「ヴィクトリア・クリンビー財団UK」や「フォワード」という児童虐待防止の活動を展開している団体のためにボランティアとして慈善事業に関わってきましたが、今回の滞在で、アートを通しての国際交流活動に更に力をいれたい、との思いが強くなりました。ホストの夢である、地元の和太鼓グループ「あわくら太鼓」のロンドン公演2014に向けて協力することにしました。また、西アフリカ、セネガルにある私の故郷カサマンス州ジナキーの小学校(周囲25村の子供達が登校)と西粟倉小学校の生徒達の間でペンパル交流を始めるという提案もでました。あと、2、3日で西粟倉を発ちますが、感謝の気持ちと素晴らしい想い出で胸が一杯です。これから色々な事業の実現に向けて意欲的に取り組んでいきます!

 

 

* The rates start from 30,000 yen for one week stay. Please contact us to discuss the details.