Newsletter of the World Friendship Center, NPO
American PAX report
I applied to join American PAX at the end of June. It was privilege for me to be chosen as one of the participants and to have such a precious experience. We visited four places and met many people who welcomed us. I think that the warm welcome was only thanks to the years of relationship cultivated between each person or group and the WFC.
I deeply appreciate the organizers and WFC committee members for working kindly to preparing our trip and give accurate information. I also thank each host family for accepting us, and making delicious breakfasts!
The first place we visited was Elgin, northwest of Chicago. A director of this church, Dan Mcfadden hosted us and gave us a guided tour here. The headquarters of Brethren Church is here, their publishing department is here, too. The book “Sea-going Cowboys ” was published here.
One of the works they undertake here is Brethren Volunteer Service. After a couple weeks of training, volunteers are dispatched all over the place, in the USA and overseas. The WFC co-directors, Dannie and Barb were also sent to Hiroshima from here.
In Illinois Wesleyan University, we participated in the International Peace Conference, held over International Peace Day on September 20, 21, and 22. Josie, one of the interns at the WFC last June, was a leading organizer for this conference. We visited several classes from the first day soon after we arrived there. In each class, after we introduced ourselves, students asked us some questions related to Hiroshima and the atomic bomb. It was a good chance for us to know how they think about A-bombing. In this university, we saw that students learned seriously about Hiroshima. But those questions were not so easy for me to answer smoothly without preparation. I felt sorry about my poor English.
My presentation here was held from 6.30 in Turlfer room, with dinner and a small panel discussion. Hank Campbell was the following speaker panelist who works to make bridges between Jewish Israelis and Arab Palestinians. When I was nervous, my PAX pals sat in the front row and said they were there for me. That helped me relax. During this trip, I had a lot of experiences with the other participants – joking, singing, chatting and discussing. In my presentation, I talked about the WFC and some victims of the A-bomb in my husband’s family.
In Wilmington, we visited Tanya Maus at the Peace Resource Center. In the evening we were welcomed by local people with a potluck party. I felt this community has a close relationship with college. I learned that the number of Japanese books related to nuclear here is the largest outside Japan.
At Bluffton University, director Louise Mattheu gave us a campus tour and showed us some art on the campus. I felt their strong will to convey peace through the arts. There was also a cozy library in the Peace Center, the Lion and Lamb, where schoolchildren learn about peace through the “Sadako” or “Swords to Plowshares” stories. Our presentations were held in this center. Because one of the organizers, Alice Ramseyer, announced this through the local newspaper, many people in the local community people came, as well as a few students of this university.
They seemed to learn about Hiroshima and the bomb. Most people we met through this PAX visit were relatively knowledgeable about Hiroshima. Still, though, the U.S. is one of the nations which possesses a large amount of arms, especially nuclear weapons. It might have been a small step for me to join PAX, but connecting with each other makes us stronger.
Thank you again for all the people I met in the U.S.A and the WFC.
The Lion and Lamb Peace Arts in Bluffton University
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