By Nadeshiko Nakaya. Nadeshiko a member of the Nagasaki Peace messengers recently visited the World YWCA office and shares her story.
My name is Nadeshiko Nakaya. I live in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture, and I am a second year student at Miyako High School. Our city has a national park with a beautiful coastline. It was however, hit by tsunami after a great earthquake on March 11th, 2011.
I was participating in an after school activity when the earthquake struck. I escaped to a shrine on a hilltop with other students and teachers. Then I moved to another place of refuge, where I was fortunate to meet my family. A series of aftershocks continued all day long. We were not allowed to go out and couldn’t get any information about what was going on. I spent that night with many people shivering from the cold and in fear.
The next day we were allowed to go out. I was deeply shocked by the dreadful sight. The central part of the city was covered with mud and rubble. Cars were piled up or crushed into houses. On the streets, many ships and boats were over turned here and there. There were also houses which had been burned down by fires the night before.
Everyone was just standing there in silence, staring at the sights. I heard many people sobbing helplessly. We were forced to live without water and electricity in the crowded refugee camps for weeks. There were people who had lost beloved family members and their homes. Seeing all these things with my own eyes, I realized, for the first time in my life, that peace is to be found within our daily lives, and when we were deprived of that peace by the power of nature, I felt uneasy and restless. I even felt frustrated from my helplessness.
Now, after three years, our town is rebuilt. However, many of my friends still go to school from temporary homes or their relatives’ houses. Some students even take a long time to come to school because the railways have not been completely restored yet. Some areas still remain deserted.
I had never imagined that the peace of our daily life would be threatened until the disaster struck. Such disasters could happen to any of us. We cannot predict when they will happen or prevent them from happening. But, nuclear weapons are not the same. They are created and possessed by human beings, and the decisions to use them are made by human beings. I think that nuclear weapons can be abolished by our own efforts because they have been made by human beings. I believe that possessing atomic bombs is wrong because they could deprive us of our own future. We must not create future tragedies by using atomic bombs.
I think that the first steps to realize world peace is to make more people interested in the problems of peace. We will be able to come closer to world peace only when each of us thinks about the meaning of peace and eventually enhances public awareness about peace. I believe the realisation of a peaceful world is not an impossible dream.