About growth through experience

JDF volunteers were coming every week, and the trainees started opening up to them. They started telling those volunteers about their experiences, because all they could talk about was what they themselves had gone through.

I feel like this helped our trainees grow. They would be telling the exact same story to a different person, but they would tell it differently from the previous week.

You might speak about the same experience in a different way as time goes by. That’s natural, whether you’re disabled or not.

They had this invisible trauma from the disaster, but as they talked about it they were healed and learned to accept the experience more.

For example, this is something I think still gets to a lot of our female trainees. After the disaster, they started carrying a lot of things around because they’re worried an earthquake might come while they’re out. We see that, and we realize it’s still affecting them. Because their houses were washed away and their treasures disappeared.

But as they talked to different people each week about the feeling of losing their homes and other important things, they eventually began to accept it.

They couldn’t accept it at first, but as they continued talking to the different people who came each week, they were able to digest it and overcome it gradually. Though of course there was no changing what had happened.

One trainee who used to have trouble communicating with people of the opposite sex now enjoys taking photos with them after repeating the process of asking people to be in his photos. He matured and got better at communication.

I think it was a really precious experience for our trainees because they could learn while interacting with others after the disaster.