Seeds from Yap, Story #2, Ms. IWASAKI Mio

Time and space, totally open
Days in Yap

I still remember that I woke up with the strong sound of water which was like the sound of a waterfall.

In Yap, there are places where seawater flows like a river due to the ebb and flow of the tide. She explains about the impression of waking up with the rhythm of nature at Yap.

The life in Yap where they decide everything by themselves rather than being instructed by someone was new to her.。

In Yap, we had to decide everything by ourself. Staff did not help us. There was a rotation of a leader group consisting of three people. When I became the leader of the group, I could not do anything. I think that time I recognized that I have to be responsible for my behavior. When you only know the clean and organized environment in Japan, the living environment looks dirty in Yap. But I could feel that I could live there without any problem.

Spending time by feeling the strength of living, the things were not always going well when she interacted with Yapese.

I have stayed at a local family house with two small girls. We became good friends each other but I couldn’t have good communication with my host family due to my lack of english skills. It was very shocking for me. I remember that I talked with my host mother who could speak Japanese a little bit and I tried to find similarities.

During the program, we worked on the project to reduce the rubbish in Yap island. We put some trash bins weaved by banana leaves around the village. But it seemed not helpful in essence. It was because we couldn’t tell the people exactly what the problem is.

She says she was not very good at expressing her thoughts in words at that time. She kept struggling with how to share her ideas with people who have different backgrounds. During her second stay on Yap island in 2001, such an unexpected incident was happening.

In fact, the 9.11 attack happened during our stay in Yap and the flight was canceled. We knew something terrible was happening in the United States but since there was no TV, only rumors and delusions spread. Gradually we ran out food. We went to look for something we can eat. We boiled spaghetti with sea water which was so salty. Some participants were not students but working at companies and since they had limited vacation days, they seemed very impatient at first but gradually they seemed be ok. That time I could be relieved to know that adults should not be perfect.

 She could be flexible through her experience in the environment  where you cannot predict what will happen and spending time with people from different backgrounds.

The time was flowing slowly. Nothing was planned about what we are going to do on that day. The environment was very helpful for me. That time, my emotions were still unstable. I might behave very rudely to the adults around me. But the adults who went to Yap with me were listening to me a lot. It was the time when I could express my thoughts in words little by little. The existence of people who listen to me was very helpful for me.

And she met somebody who had a great impact on her future.