I sing for joy at what your hands have done”
Since this is the last testimony from Africa, I would like to introduce our life in Africa with as many photos and explanations as possible. For us, having sincere relationships with people in every country was a joy. Even though we had difficulty with the environment, the fellowship with the people was memorable and a treasure for our family.
School life was the most important thing for our children. Lusaka had an American school and an international school. I am sure that the friendships our children made with children from different countries opened their eyes and had a strong influence on their future. My third son still keeps in touch with the children he knew in Zambia.
I had the opportunity to introduce the Japanese tea ceremony and taught a flower arrangement class, and I gave a presentation on Nori-Maki Sushi (seaweed roll) making.
After I resigned from working as the medical Dr.at the Japanese Embassy in Lusaka, I became a housewife again.
I was in charge of the kindergarten at a Japanese Residential School. When Christmas approached, we practiced a chorus with the ladies (I was the conductor), and the children played handbells.
A Japanese lady who had stayed in India for a long time had a lot of saris and gave us a chance to wear them.
Michio and I got golf memberships in Lusaka near our house. Michio instructed me on how to play golf. I did not improve very much, but I had fun, and it was healthy walking nine holes every morning with him.
Once a month, the Japanese Association held a golf competition. Michio was always the winner, but I got a booby prize. Only once I had a lucky long distance shot.
When Michio was on a business trip to London, my two older sons and I played in a tournament at the Lusaka Club called Country Golf.
The winner received a pig, and my second son won a cabbage.
There were also kids’ tournaments, sometimes on Fridays, and there was a putting contest for small children, in which my third son participated and received the third prize.
As a medical officer, I was used to attending parties at various embassy gatherings, so I could get information about events.
First, I attended a fashion show hosted by the wife of the German ambassador. It was so wonderful that I immediately reported it to our Japanese ambassador's wife.
I asked her to do a fashion show with African costumes at the residence of the ambassador.
We enjoyed a glamorous show with the participation of Zambian and local models.
I got information about a music concert at the Norwegian Embassy in the evening, so we went to the concert with the Ambassador's wife and my friends.
The third person from the right above is Mrs. Ambassador.
The most memorable experience for us was our encounter with the Zambian Boys’ Acapella Choir.
One day I went to a concert involving choirs from all over Zambia.
I noticed one acapella choir that stood out among the many performers because of their harmony.
I went backstage after the concert was over.
The older brothers had been performing in the U.S. because an American missionary had directed them, and they had been traveling and performing. They gave me a CD.
They lived near our house. Their compound was poor and not a safe environment.
I discussed it with my husband and we decided that we would introduce them to the director of the American school.
For two hours, students listened to their singing in a large classroom. The students enjoyed it very much and asked them various questions, such as how many hours they practiced.
Next, I asked the ambassador's wife to organize a charity concert for this boys' choir at the ambassador's residence. On a full moon night, the Japanese gathered in the garden of the residence and enjoyed a wonderful performance of their local hymns and English choruses accompanied by drums. We were able to buy their uniforms with the money we raised at that time. At the end of the event, everyone danced in a big circle to the rhythm of the music.
After three years and a few months, my husband’s next assignment would be in London, England. He had been promoted from the first secretary to deputy secretary under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs policy to qualify in one year with a master's degree in tropical medicine and public health from the University of London. He was exempted from work during that year, while receiving a salary as a medical officer. It was a pleasure and an honor for Michio.
For my last memory of Zambia, I organized a musical performance of the musical "The Lion King. I had seen the movie on video. All I had was a CD of the music track version of The Lion King.
I asked a young man who used to sing in a choir at our church to lead the A Cappella boys, and I choreographed the dancers. As expected, the youth from the Acapella group quickly learned the songs, but the American School kids were the best dancers, so they could learn from each other. We had rehearsals two times at the school, and each of us practiced many times to make it up. Then we performed the musical at the school and at the Baptist church to which we belonged.
Practice in our house.
We used a puppy as baby Simba and it was such a good performance that it made the audience laugh.
Unfortunately, when I tried to watch the video of that performance in London, the film went out and I could not reproduce it. I don't have any pictures of that time either because I was also performing and my husband was in charge of facilitating the event and had his hands full.
An American missionary came to Lusaka to help the acappella choir give a performance in the USA again, along with their older brothers. The Zambian government needed a recommendation to allow them to go abroad. Michio did it. The choir went to the U.S. to perform, and they also had the opportunity to study in the U.S. They sent their income to their village to help others learn and live in blue-sky classrooms in their community.
New School supported by Boys Zambian Acapella.
In the past, while there was overseas assistance such as ODA, or various NGOs, Japan had been criticized for mainly donating money and boxes of goods.
In recent years, there are some small NGOs and NPOs that have been making a steady effort to promote friendship, but I feel that their efficiency and safety, along with the use of manuals, makes it difficult for them to provide individualized assistance that meets the needs of the time.
In both overseas aid and domestic disaster relief, I hope that along with the aid itself, we can share heart-to-heart exchanges with individuals, and even in difficulties, we can share laughter and enjoyment.