On the morning of Friday, July 8, IAC co-hosted a lecture on international understanding with the City of Chigasaki and the non-profit organization “Sanchai Nepal Nepalpa” at the Chigasaki Civic Cultural Center.
The speaker this time was Mr. Kazumasa Kakimi, who has lived alone in Palpa District, Nepal since 1993, walking through the villages there and continued to provide support, and is affectionately known as “OK Baji” by the local people.
In the first part of the lecture, he began by introducing Nepal by sharing some of his own experience. For instance, he introduced that people do not worry too much about the future, but think about it when it happens. He also shared that in Nepal, it takes two to three hours to go back and forth to get 20 liters of water, whereas in Japan, people take water for granted.
He also told us that in order to enter a different culture, it is important to recognize that they are “different from us” and to “be a guest”. He also suggested that what we have now is a gift from God, and that we should not only be grateful for that gift, but also think about what we will do with it and act accordingly.
In the second part, Mr. Kakimi talked about what has supported and has been providing in Nepal for the past 30 years, accompanied by photos.
First, he talked about how he started supporting Nepal. When he was an English teacher after graduating from university, he was involved in an avalanche while climbing in the Himalayas, and a porter who was with him died. When he later visited the porter’s village, he learned that the conditions there were completely different from those in Japan, so he left his teaching job and went to Nepal on his own, living in a tent and traveling from village to village, starting a grassroots volunteer program by himself.
He has also provided medical support for the disabled, burn victims, and patients with skin diseases, built water storage facilities, and raised funds from Japan to distribute rice to those who were unable to obtain rice due to the Corona disaster. Mr. Kakimi introduced his many activities over the past 30 years, in which he has been solving problems that were right in front of his eyes.
Ms. Kayo Wada, Assistant Director of the Gender Equality Division of Chigasaki City, and Ms. Keiko Nagata, Representative of “Sanchai Nepal Nepalpa,” gave opening remarks and closing remarks, respectively.
During the Q&A session, participants asked specific questions such as how the schools they built are managed and how the teachers are paid, whether the books in the library are procured in Nepal, and how electricity is supplied. It was a good opportunity to learn about the actual situation in Nepal.
The exhibition hall also featured Kakimi’s books, a collection of local photographs, and Nepalese handicrafts, which attracted the interest of many participants.
The IAC Chigasaki International Association decided to support Mr. Kakimi’s activities in FY2022 and handed over the support money after the lecture.