The picture above is of the Suceava Fortress.
I departed from Kushimoto-cho, Wakayama Prefecture, where I live, on August 1. I had given a brief report to some of you through LINE on the progress of my journey before entering Suceava, my destination in Romania.
The total waiting time at the airport was 16 hours and the flight time was 13 hours. We arrived at Bucharest, Romania, via Doha, Qatar, around 2:00 p.m., a little behind schedule. Rev. and Mrs. Hidekazu Ishikawa, the leader of this trip, and three other people were already at the airport and welcomed me.
I had traveled to Eastern Europe only once before, when I spent three weeks in Latvia about four years ago with my husband, Dr. Michio Ono, to give a lecture on dementia. Having been exposed to English, Portuguese, and Spanish, some aspects of the Romanian language, which is Latin in origin, are relatively familiar to me. Ukrainian, on the other hand, has its roots in Slavic languages, so I came here with a total lack of understanding. For this reason, I purchased a portable translation machine, but unfortunately, I was disappointed to find out that my machine has no direct audio translation for Ukrainian. The common language is supposed to be English.
Before coming here, we visited two families who are deeply involved with Pastor and Mrs. Ishikawa and are rooted in firm faith and fraternity on both sides, and we received a great welcome. It is said that the Christian faith was suppressed because of the communist state and that a period of lack of freedom prevailed throughout Eastern Europe. The history of the underground faith has continued for 40 years in Romania and 70 years in Ukraine, so it is hard for us to imagine the hardships they had to go through.
Below and right are the families who stayed with us for one night.
We visited a Bible campground that had been built with donations from Japanese churches.
On the right is the family of the manager. The wife is a pediatrician and the husband is an AI specialist who can fix broken computers at will. We also had a chance to meet the young people at the campsite through praise with them and sharing a meal with them. On the left, we took a group photo when we parted.
We stopped by a vegetable market on the way. Video is the praise hour of the youth.
We left and stayed one night with Daniel, the son-in-law of Rev. Ishikawa's, his eldest daughter’s husband. He has been doing this work for the disabled for decades, repairing wheelchairs and transporting them to faraway Romania and Ukraine, with the help of an American aid organization (church-related). He is a student of Rev. Ishikawa's at the seminary and a licensed pastor, but he makes his living as a tent maker and preaches the gospel while making a living from his work. He has a great sense of humor and his wife is Japanese, so his Japanese pronunciation is very good, not like a foreigner. He drove us in a large van for the entire trip.
(Bottom) Rev. Ishikawa's English message was simultaneously interpreted into Romanian by his son-in-law, Daniel.
After the fundraising in Ukraine, I converted the Japanese yen we had received from four people and from the Home Care Nurses' station in Kushimoto into US dollars and brought it with me.
We asked Daniel to purchase a wheelchair of this type, which can be changed in size and function as the child grows. (left) (right)
(Right) This is the wheelchair repair shop, wheelchair storage, and office.
From the Refugee Center in Suceava, three Ukrainian families were moving to the U.S, so our Japanese group decided to have a farewell party for them and cook meals for them. Under the guidance of a former Italian chef from Sapporo, Hokkaido, who accompanied us, we served a casual menu of curry, which was greatly appreciated. Origami was also presented at each table, and the participants were very interested and skillfully folded origami cranes. A young man from Japan, who invented his own martial arts, played with the children, who cheered and had a lot of fun. Here are some photos from the event.
Some of you have personally contacted me with your concerns, but I have not been able to reply to your messages. I appreciate your understanding.