The Rotary Club of Kona Mauka has a longtime sister club relationship with the Rotary Club of Mizusawa East in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. Misusawa is near the area of devastation caused by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. More than 18,500 people were confirmed dead or missing and the Rotary Club of Misuzawa East was searching for ways to provide comfort and aid to some of the survivors.
The concept of a student-to-student program was conceived with members of the Rotary Club of Kona Mauka in the months following the disaster. The result is a visit this month by members of the Rotary Club of Mizusawa East, Rotary Club of Miyako and four students and one staff member from Miyako Commercial Fisheries High School. The school was destroyed by the tsunami.
The visitors arrived Sunday and departed Kona Wednesday. Some of the visitors lost family and friends in that event.
Activities included a visit to Kamilo Beach near South Point to search for debris from Japan, an underwater tour courtesy of Altlantis Submarines, lunch with Kealakehe High School’s Japan Class, a tour of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority and pau hana meeting of the Rotary Club of Kona Mauka.
To close out their visit, the Keauhou Canoe Club took out a double hull with the four students aboard on Wednesday morning for a blowing of the conch shell and to release flowers in memory of those lost in the 2011 tsunami.