On Wednesday, October 23, 2007, the OK Clean Water Project held a reception for twenty-one Grade 11 students of Sakura no Seibo High School from Fukushima, Japan. The reception for the students, who were accompanied by two of their teachers, Mrs. Matsuura and Sister Marijke Gerretsen, was held at the Baycrest CND Residence.
This marked the second time that Sakura no Seibo students have come to Ottawa to bring their donation to the Project; the first group came in 2004. To raise funds for their donation, the girls prepared items for their school fair and designated all proceeds to the Project. The girls, encouraged by their teachers, have learned of the real needs of the people of Kumbo and, in turn, have translated this knowledge into action.
In the 1970s the microbiologist and humanist, Rene Dubos, articulated humanity's need to "think globally and act locally." The gathering with these young Japanese students reflected how remarkably the OK Clean Water Project attempts to live that maxim. The Baycrest gathering celebrated the wonderful links between the Sakura students and teachers, the people of Kumbo, and members of the OK Clean Water Project.
From the serious attention, interspersed with applause and laughter, of the students at the reception, one could hope that it was a gathering that will be well remembered as they complete their multi-city Canadian visit.
In a high school, far across the ocean from Canada, a group of English Department students heard about our project and decided to do some fundraising of their own. In the inner courtyard of the school they held an "Africa Safari".
They introduced African culture; music, dance and food. They made and sold African food and had a Flea Market for the project. It was indeed a big success! They raised $900.00 for the project and even managed to deliver the money in person on a trip to Ottawa, Canada in October 2004. What a wonderful visitation!