Volunteer Report “To be safe and healthy.”
Name： Koichi Taguchi
Specialty： Community Development
In the country to which I am being sent, Malawi, more than 50 years have passed since the first cooperative team was deployed in 1971. In total, more than 1,900 volunteers have served here. This number seems to be the highest in the world, and as one of the countries with which JOCV has been closely associated, many of our volunteers have served in Malawi.
It is with great sadness that we have lost 12 JOCVs in Malawi because of road traffic accidents and malaria while on deployment. Memorial Pillars have been erected several places in Malawi in memory of these JOCVs, and it is customary for newly posted JOCVs to visit one of a Memorial Pillar and lay a wreath. There are also Memorial Pillars at the dormitory in the capital, Lilongwe, where a memorial ceremony is held every year.
This year, too, a memorial ceremony for the deceased was held in September, with portraits of all 12 members, learning about their activities during their lifetime, and everyone offering a silent prayer and offering flowers and incense at Memorial Pillars. It was a valuable opportunity to reflect on the loss of the 12 who were unable to return to Japan to their families and friends, and to reaffirm the importance of our current activities in completing our term of office without incident.
Worldwide, new coronavirus infections are on the decline, but crime by people whose households have been damaged by these infections is on the increase, and some Japanese people are victims. There is an increasing number of cases of criminal damage. In Malawi, too, there is a sense that crime is increasing, and in addition to crime, we also see more road accidents than we do in Japan. On the roads, you can see battered used cars that would not pass inspection in Japan, and on the side of the road you can see the wreckage of cars that have probably been in a traffic accident and have burst into flames. I experience many near-miss situations where a traffic accident is likely to occur.
It was a day that I refreshed my mind that I will do my activity with awareness that it is very important to finish our contract and return to Japan safely in the circumstance which totally different from Japan.
*1 Remembering 12 members of the force.
*2 Memorial Pillar with flowers.