A fundraiser for Japan was held on March 21-25 in front of the MVC cafeteria. MVC International students with the help of the American Red Cross raised more than $600 to support the victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
For the Japanese students on campus, it is a tough time to be away from home.
MVC graduate Saori (Sally) Ogiwara initiated the event to help a close friend. The MVC International students “wanted to do this because one former MVC student Mika Hasegawa’s grandparents’ house was completely destroyed by the tsunami,” Ogiwara said. “She is from Sendai, Japan, the most affected area from both the earthquake and tsunami.”
Ogiwara said she was devastated by the fact that her friend wasn’t able to get in contact with her family for more than one week after the disaster. “I just wanted to do something to help Mika’s family to begin with. We wanted to make a change, to contribute to the country, and start something here at Missouri Valley College,” she added.
Ogiwara is from Yamanashi, Japan, which is right next to Tokyo. With an earthquake of a 4.9 magnitude, thankfully her mother wasn’t affected as much but she was also afraid, Ogiwara said. She added that earthquakes are considered normal occurrences as they happen almost every day in Japan. But they still can raise scary feelings in people.
Sean Moss, a junior from the Bahamas, said, “I think it was a very positive way to give back to those who were in need and to support the Japanese community at our school.”
Amit Jain, a freshman from India, said, “I think every little bit could help Japan at this hour.”
All donations made on the MVC campus went to the American Red Cross. “To date, the American Red Cross has donated $10 million to assist with medical aid and relief efforts in Japan,” Jack Harvey, board member and volunteer for the Mid Missouri Chapter of the American Red Cross, said. “There’s also been an additional $47 million that has been donated and will be used in support of the response to the disaster that occurred in Japan,” he added.
To donate, go to www.redcross.org or text a donation to 90999.
— An e-mail correspondence between Ralitsa Gospodinova and Mika Hasegawa, former MVC student who currently attends Concordia College in Minnesota.
“I knew about this earthquake through Facebook actually, because I was flying from South America to the United States. Some of my friends were asking me about my family and me, because they knew I’m from Sendai, which had the big earthquake. At first, I didn’t know what everyone was talking about, but after I got to the United States and went to a Japanese friends’ house in New York, I was finally able to see what happened in Japan visually because of the internet coverage. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It looked like a different country. I called my family so many times, but their phone was not working for a couple days. Several days later, I could talk to my dad who lives in Tokyo. He told me all my family is okay, just my grandpa’s house got damaged by the tsunami, but he was fine. I was trying to call my mom too, but because she was in Sendai. I couldn’t talked to her for a while. Finally she sent me e-mail that she was okay. Only glasses and dished got broken at home, but the people were fine. And the house was fine too. I was so happy to hear that. Even now, they still don’t have electricity, water, or gas. Their life is so limited right now, but as long as they are fine, I’m really happy. I will able to see them next week, I’m so excited about it. I was gone for only one month, but I think Japan looks so different right now. It’s going to take more than 10 years to bring everything back to normal. I’m praying for the people who are still missing.”