Christmas Orphanage Visits
Every December, it’s been a Tokushima ALT tradition to host Christmas events at orphanages around the prefecture. On a volunteer basis, ALTs are asked to buy gifts and attend at least one of a number of planned orphanage visits. The day’s events include decorating a room for the party, playing games with the children, arts and crafts, singing Christmas carols, and a visit by Santa Clause. This past Sunday morning, I was involved in my third trip to a Japanese orphanage. As I have in the past, I purchased a plastic baseball bat and ball set, a gift that has gone over pretty well in the past. At the Awa Koku Orphanage this year, instead of two baseball sets, I also purchased a plastic lacrosse set, which wasn’t such a big hit. I followed the boys around who received each of my gifts, looking for that Kodak moment. Instead I got a disappointed look from the one that opened my lacrosse set and found him later trying to make a trade for some fantasy action doll. Nevertheless, seeing the overall happiness and appreciation from our visits each year is a priceless feeling and the reason for coming back each year.