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52nd Annual Opening Ceremony (Part 2)

This past Tuesday, June 11, we hosted our 52nd annual opening ceremony (part 2) in honor of our late-arrival participants, who hail from India, Japan, Malawi, Myanmar, and the Philippines. People work, learn, and volunteer at ARI for various amounts

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52nd Annual Opening Ceremony (Part 2)

This past Tuesday, June 11, we hosted our 52nd annual opening ceremony (part 2) in honor of our late-arrival participants, who hail from India, Japan, Malawi, Myanmar, and the Philippines. People work, learn, and volunteer at ARI for various amounts of time, and so many people are always coming or leaving. But no matter what, we want to make sure everyone feels welcome and included when they arrive.

We were happy to welcome our new participants and hear their individual stories and resolutions for their time at ARI. They will be joining our 16 existing participants and training assistant from 11 different countries in the ARI Rural Leader Training Program.

Participants at ARI have made long journeys before even setting foot on campus, and we look forward to seeing those journeys continue and develop at ARI! Their voices and presence are valued here, and we hope to fully support them in fulfilling their goals at ARI.

Our director wrote an article as an ICU alumnus

This book, planned to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the dedication of International Christian University(ICU), compiles the activities of alumni who have devoted themselves to Christian-related work in fields such as ministry, school, welfare, and research. Not only the personal interactions during their time at ICU and the struggles of their youth, but the 70 years are also a lifetime record for those who were at the school when it first opened, and we can learn of the footsteps they have made, despite the twists and turns, supported by the learning and encounters they have had at ICU.

The fact that the school was built on the repentance and the reconciliation of the World War Ⅱ is common to the founding spirit of ARI, and we hope to continue to be comrades who sincerely face this issue and continue to bear witness to it.

Our director was featured in a booklet “Nasu Machi Jinbutsu Zukan 3”

This booklet, created by students from Nasu high school who interviewed various local people working in the area, will be held in the National Diet Library!

 ARI is unique and might be difficult to understand in a short time, but we could feel that the students tried their best to understand it. The students’ candid feedback after the interview was also impressive.

Thank you very much, Nasu high school, for choosing ARI!

 

Opening Ceremony 2024 took place


On April 13th (Saturday), our Opening Ceremony took place. Amidst the full bloom of sakura, it was a serene event filled with smiles from everyone gathered. The participants successfully delivered their Japanese self-introductions, which they had been practicing until yesterday. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all who attended, to the graduates who sent their messages, and to everyone who supported us from afar.

Graduate’s First Steps Story: Mordekay, DR Congo, 2022, Part 2

This week, ARI and American Friends of ARI are fundraising for rural leaders to travel to ARI, with our Little by Little fundraising matching campaign on GlobalGiving. Read our story and consider supporting them with a donation.

Spring marks a new class of participants at ARI. Rural leaders are preparing for their journey to Japan.  For some ARI participants, this is their first time on a plane. Others travel more than a thousand miles to attend the Rural Leaders Training Program in Tochigi, Japan, leaving their families and community work behind for 9-months. On the last day of our Little by Little matching campaign, we return to Mordekay telling his story of travel from the DR Congo to Japan to begin nine months of intense leadership training. Let’s continue with the conclusion to his travel.

From Addis Abbebas (BOLE INTL) / Ethiopia to Japan (NARITA), a duration of 12:05. 

It was a new page, a new story, and of course a new tasting. We indeed had a good meal on every flight, but this time it got tastier and tastier.

Everything was going well until then, and I knew that me and my brother Shukuru weren’t the only ones going to ARI until I started asking some of the passengers “Sir, Madam, are you also going to ARI?” it was a funny question, but it was already connecting us with other people, we were writing a beautiful story and sharing our experiences until others asked us to take a souvenir photo, oh what a wonderful trip! it was already a new community, a new culture, a new learning experience,… 

Finally, we reached Narita (Japan), and what a wonderful airport – wow! I watched and gradually began to discover Japanese culture, with its soft-spoken, understanding, and slightly shy people. Everything was based on technology and with many strict observations about the pandemic at COVID-19.

However, we got a surprise! We had just finished almost all the formalities at the airport, and we realized that Shukuru’s luggage had not come in the same cargo as mine. This cost us another 1h30 or so, fortunately, the help and intervention service was flexible, being already tired and down, we were without words since I was not supposed to go out and leave Shukuru alone, we were already in contact with ARI, they were already aware of the situation until the help service asked us to go, leaving ARI’s addresses and contacts. 

As soon as we stepped out of the airport, we were off to ARI, and Shukuru’s luggage had arrived two weeks later at ARI, what a relief? This trip was an unforgettable experience, allowing me to discover different cultures and at the same time realize how vast and diverse the world is. I will always be grateful to ARI for shaping me differently and to the United Church of Canada for sponsoring me. 

Thank you for joining us on this journey to ARI this week. If you wish to help sponsor future participants like Mordekay and Shukuru, please donate to our project on GlobalGiving, and see your donation matched, extending the impact futher into the future.

Graduate’s First Steps Story: Mordekay, DR Congo, 2022, Part 1

This week, ARI and American Friends of ARI are fundraising for rural leaders to travel to ARI, with our Little by Little fundraising matching campaign on GlobalGiving. Read our story and consider supporting them with a donation.

Spring marks a new class of participants at ARI. Rural leaders are preparing for their journey to Japan.  For some ARI participants, this is their first time on a plane. Others travel more than a thousand miles to attend the Rural Leaders Training Program in Tochigi, Japan, leaving their families and community work behind for 9-months. Today, we’re highlighting Mordekay’s story of him and Shukuru traveling from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rural leaders travel to ARI for the betterment of their communities. Here is the first part of their story.

It was like a dream for me, what a superb journey I made to ARI.

I left my hometown with a brother who has become a friend, a familiar figure, a comrade in struggle, Shukuru. 

After receiving my mother’s blessings and prayers, we left for Goma, heading to the nearest port to catch the boat. Accompanied by the coordinator of my sending organization, we boarded our ship, a twelve-hour ride at the start of a new adventure, a new life, a new vision, and, above all, a new community that I was soon to meet at ARI.

Our stay in the volcanic city (Goma) was short-lived, as we had to catch our 3:30 p.m. flight on April 3 to Kinshasa, the capital of DRCongo. I was looking forward to going there for the first time in my life, as I was already 29, so it was a very eagerly awaited moment. However, in Goma, we made the most of our time, tasting the best sausages, the best cheese, the best mikeke, and the best tropical fruits. 

The journey was not easy, with a flight scheduled for 3.25 pm; we had to be at Goma International Airport at 10 am for preparations and checks. Therefore, tiring and so much fun, it was nevertheless a dream trip to set foot in Kinshasa for the first time.

And here we were, both ready to set off in the same direction. All I knew about Kinshasa was that it was very hot, and I was so afraid of getting sick because of climate change. I had taken the malaria medicine with me, and I knew that it would be useful in Japan if I got sick. When you leave Bukavu, where the average temperature is 25°C and the average rainfall is 495, and Goma, where the average temperature is 18°C and average rainfall is 364 mm, to go to Kinshasa, where the temperature can exceed 35°C, it starts to get a bit scary.

It was a warm, sunny day. A long-time friend and brother were waiting for us at Ndjili International Airport.  As we stepped off the plane, I could feel the pressure of Kinshasa, but it’s such a wonderful city on the banks of the Congo River. I feel that this is where our best journey began, as well as our challenges, a magnificent city with an incredible cultural richness. As the bustling capital of the country, I discovered the vibrant music of Congolese rumba and tasted delicious local specialties such as Fumbwa, Ngaingai, makoso, mposso… despite the traffic jams everywhere, which seemed strange to me. 

18 more days in Kinshasa before the trip? Poof, it was sometimes tedious, but I had to take the time to get everything in order, the COVID tests, the visa, and the organization of plane tickets, it was also the right time to take moments for retreat and meditation, visits with friends and acquaintances, and to discover the environment (museums, universities, Palais de la Nation, Central Bank of Congo, Congo River, farmers and breeders, supermarkets, stadiums, big local markets, libraries, etc.) and the hidden face of Kinshasa, while awaiting the embassy’s response. But things did not go according to plan: the embassy had many various questions, and ARI intervened directly to guide us through.

We received a phone call from the embassy: your visa is ready, and you can travel to Japan, what immense joy I felt, I was reading some stories about Japan and ARI, and I was looking forward to participating in the rural leader’s program for the good of my community, our organization and myself, a new adventure was about to begin in the next few days.

Mordekay and Shukuru took a perilous voyage from the DR Congo to ARI in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — their story will continue tomorrow.

If you would like to support rural leaders like Mordekay and Shukuru, please consider donating to our campaign.

Graduate’s First Steps Story: Kally, Nigeria, 2023

This week, ARI and American Friends of ARI are fundraising for rural leaders to travel to ARI, with our Little by Little fundraising matching campaign on GlobalGiving. Read our story and consider supporting them with a donation.

Spring marks a new class of participants at ARI. Rural leaders are preparing for their journey to Japan.  For some ARI participants, this is their first time on a plane. Others travel more than a thousand miles to attend the Rural Leaders Training Program in Tochigi, Japan, leaving their families and community work behind for 9-months. Today, we’re highlighting Kally from Nigeria. Rural leaders like Kally travel to ARI for the betterment of their communities. Here is her story of traveling from Nigeria to the Asian Rural Institute.

My journey to ARI was the best experience of my life. My community is close to the airport, so traveling itself was not stressful. The thought of leaving my kids nearly killed me, but I knew I had to go because I work for my people and community.

At the airport, I met another participant for the first time from my home country. She has been a friend and and sister since. At Addis Ababa, we met many more participants and were so happy seeing them, because it was not just the two of us. I am afraid of heights, and was prepared in case I was sick, but the flight was safe and easy.

We reached Narita airport the next day and were picked up by ARI staff. When we went to buy a drink, we didn’t know what to pick. We saw a drawing so beautiful that we thought it was a fruit drink, but were shocked when we found out it was tea. We laughed, “Japan will not kill us, is it tea that has this beautiful label?” Later we realized that tea was the best thing you can give offer to someone. It was a challenge to try new things, but a good and wonderful experience to learn that we may live together.

Transportation is the most significant barrier to attending the Rural Leaders Training Program, yet it is the first step to achieving both personal growth and community transformation that lasts for generations. ARI and AFARI invites you to join our Global campaign to help ensure that all ARI participants have the funds available to take that first step. Join us in helping a new class of ARI participants start their journey of transformation.

If you would like to support rural leaders like Kally, please consider donating to our campaign.

Graduate’s First Steps Story: Grace, Rwanda, 2022

This week, ARI and American Friends of ARI are fundraising for rural leaders to travel to ARI, with our Little by Little fundraising matching campaign on GlobalGiving. Read our story and consider supporting them with a donation.

Spring marks a new class of participants at ARI. Rural leaders are preparing for their journey to Japan.  For some ARI participants, this is their first time on a plane. Others travel more than a thousand miles to attend the Rural Leaders Training Program in Tochigi, Japan, leaving their families and community work behind for 9-months. Each day this week, we’ll highlight stories from graduates about their travels to ARI.

Rural leaders, like Grace from Rwanda, do this for the betterment of their communities. Here is Grace’s story of her travel to the Asian Rural Institute.

When my sending body first told me that I was selected to go to Japan for the Rural leaders training program, l was so surprised. On the day that l left my home, l was both happy and nervous because it was the first time to leave my community and to fly in an airplane. I anticipated the two-day flight to be very difficult.  When I arrived at Narita airport, I was not able to use my phone, so I was unable to communicate with the ARI staff members picking me up. I was so nervous. Fortunately, I sat next to a man who knew who was picking me up and assured me that they will come shortly.  I learned from this experience that there is always a helping hand ready to assist you if you face any challenges in your travel.

Transportation is the most significant barrier to attending the Rural Leaders Training Program, yet it is the first step to achieving both personal growth and community transformation that lasts for generations. ARI and AFARI invites you to join our Global campaign to help ensure that all ARI participants have the funds available to take that first step. Join us in helping a new class of ARI participants start their journey of transformation.

If you would like to support rural leaders like Grace, please consider donating to our campaign.

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