OISCA – A Year Later
Dear Family and Friends,
Today, as you know, there are many wonderful NGOs and organizations doing uplifting work in every corner of the world. But one of my favorites is called OISCA. Maybe you remember my letter from last year about that humbly generous group. (https://lettersfromthegroundtotheheart.com/oisca-tree-planting-day/) It is working to rebuild the pine forest that used to line the entire coast of Tohoku.
One reason I love OISCA is because they serve, and never dominate. And following that pattern, after the tsunami obliterated the coastal forest here, OISCA came to offer their assistance. The locals readily embraced their much-needed offer. So, together – with the locals leading, OISCA following – they set out to bring new life to this devastated area.
This year people of all ages, sizes, and abilities came to volunteer. There were over 100 more than the year before.
Of course, the exquisite attention to details in planning and executing this day reflected Japan at her most efficient. But another touching, rather personal, cultural attitude also presented itself. After planting our baby trees and packing down the moist earth – which had been trucked in from the mountains over many months – we were to cover the freshly packed soil with wooden chips. Their purpose was to hold in moisture since these teeny trees would not be watered. One jolly elderly farmer and his working partner did a splendid job of planting their small charges. However, they neglected the final step: spreading the wooden chips.
So, very surreptitiously I sprinkled a few life-preserving chips on each of the newly planted trees.
We parted tired, of course, but also filled with hope. How better to believe in the future than by placing our hands in the soil and encouraging new life to take hold? We will never see the final results, of course. But that does not matter. It is what we leave behind that counts, and surely that is what we will carry in our hearts forever.