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Working together to help others

Date Posted: 1998-11-27

Jameson Mappala, a Filipino living in Okinawa, has been involved in several volunteer projects, but more recently, he accompanied a group of fifty volunteers from Okinawa to the Philippines . The group included members of Okinawa Block Jaycees, Okinawa Kejin Kai, volunteer constructors and housewives. Their mission was to build a school for the children in one of the poorest regions of the Philippines.

When they arrived in Payatas, Quezon City, the group faced protesters who were demonstrating on the site where the school was supposed to be built. Mappala says "The Payatas people were strongly opposed and some of them were carrying home made archery and blow guns."

The next day, the group decided to seek help from vice president's office but the contact was in Hong Kong! "luckily, his teenage son was home so I called him in Hong Kong" Mappala recalls, " and he gave is permission to meet the chief administrator". The group was warmly received by the office of then Vice President Joseph Estrada.

After visiting several offices, the project finally got under way. The cement truck came at 3:00 and we finished the foundation by 5:00." It was truly a joint effort as even Mappala's old high school friends joined in and provided rice and water for the volunteers.

The school was completed in a record two days, proving that anything is possible if everybody co-operates. Mappala says " Since Japan Update featured an article on this project in February, we received plenty of support from various groups among local and foreign residents.

This project was a very good example of 'Yuimaru' which in the Okinawan dialect means "everybody works together to help each other".

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