What and how much has happened in a year?
(Well, for one thing, I caught a nasty cold… the worst I have had in years… and still feeling a bit woozy. Note to myself – never go out in the rain without enough rest to have the immune system functioning properly! But more importantly, note to everyone who has visited here while I was away – my sincere apologies for leaving this place unattended!)
One year is the time that have passed since the first big earthquake hit the Southwest region of my homeland… one year! Is it already a year, or still only a year? Maybe a little of both.
As we welcome a new year in our road to recovery in this region, we have lost over 200 people – roughly one-quarter of the deaths were directly linked to the earthquakes, the remainder due to complications from living under stress from prolonged displacement from their homes. Many have no idea when they can return to where they used to live, because the faults that caused the earthquakes are still moving and the houses standing on or around them, even if they survived the shakes, keep tilting greater as time passes.
To them, maybe it is still only a year, after so much loss.
Or, maybe it is already a year, without seeing a clear path to rebuilding their everyday lives.
But we are not without some gains. Although the damages suffered by the monumental landmark of this region, the castle, is now thought to be far worse than originally estimated right after the disaster – it is now said that it will take a couple of decades and over 580 million USD for it to be fully repaired – nearly 8 million USD have been raised through the “joint lord for restoration” programme… and I am proud to be a part of it!
Maybe to the people still suffering, it is still only a very tiny amount.
But maybe because of this fund, the repair works have already been able to begin… and begin where they have requested to be repaired first – the castle tower top where it can be seen from everywhere.
And on this day, a string quartet from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra generously gave a free concert in front of the castle to some 500 people. They played a slow but steady piece, “Canon in D” by a German composer J.P., to wish a steady recovery in this region, no matter how slow.
Maybe we are still only at the very start of recovery, and a long way awaits ahead.
But maybe we have already received so much love and support from all over the world.
We cannot be grateful enough for your keeping us in your thoughts… and I cannot thank you enough for visiting here to read up on what’s happening in this region month by month. With your help, I am very optimistic that we will come out a winner in this slow but steady race.
Oh, I should mention that, since a month ago, Kumamon, the lovable mascot of the area most affected, has become one of the French Tourism Friendship Ambassadors for 2017… the first non-human to be appointed to this position! And while reading up on this news, I also found out that there is now a “Mon-bassador (Kumamon ambassador) system” to recruit assistants to Kumamon in telling the world what’s happening in this region – you think I would be a good aide?