#23 Beyond Development

2020 . 08 . 24

Wow, it’s another sweltering day today !!
I wonder if it was also such a hot day on 15th August, the end of the war, 75 years ago. Since the end of the war, Japan seems to continue to focus on development with much passion above this heat. Now, I started to link the meaning or need of development to arts and ideal family relationships.

「Building a family relationship with people who live or work together and playing harmony to live.」
This is my present answer to the question ‘What is Development ??’ that I have been thinking about for a long time since when I got interested in International cooperation.

This is so me who spent in Tonga which is often said to be a family country.
( In the case of Tonga, the actual blood relationship is quite connected , but…)

Generally speaking, international cooperation or international development tend to be imagined to help to get more income, improve infrastructure ,or enhancing new medical care,,,,
After I got a chance to go to Tonga, I learned the history of Japanese development again and again and I thought about what is better development every time I studied the community development method. I always coexisted with myself, one hoped to work with other countries’ people and one doubted the need of development.

A two weeks training at ‘ Asian Rural Institute (ARI)” in Tochigi prefecture inspired me to get the answer. ARI is the school for rural leaders from several countries like Africa such as Kenya or Rwanda, Asia such as Indonesia or Vietnam and Japan. They are from more than 10 countries including Europe and the United States’ volunteers and staff. So excited is an international place !!

Moreover, ARI priority in life is creating their own food by themselves. In fact, their self-sufficiency rate is much higher than Japan’s 40%, reaching 90%. I really like this policy. Everyday, they work in organic vegetables fields or take care of livestocks etc in the morning and evening called Food Life Work. They take turns for cooking and call it FEAST ( Food Education and Sustainable Table) . Seeds become ingredients, ingredients become dishes, and we eat !!
Originally, we were alive like this. My parents grow vegetables, but I think it was more effective because with others. In addition, during the training, we processed the pig biogas waste ( Cleaning solid residue fermented and separated into gas, liquid fertilizer from pig manure) , and we slaughtered the ducks. I felt the weight of eating animals.

This life itself is similar to life in Tonga

In the morning, you can see a lot of boys around 10 years old, crack coconut shells and feed it to pigs everywhere, kids play with running chickens after school, the children naturally learn how to harvest bananas and how to plant root crops thorough everyday-work in farm with family ,,,, Everything leads living.

However, the only difference in animal raising gave me the question ‘ Why do people eat ??’ I was in a philosophical mode !!Compared to Tonga’s pigs and chickens roaming all over the place, I was somewhat sorry that ARI’s pigs are housed in concrete huts, and many ARI’S chickens were in one hut. I thought inconsistent with Japanese food cycle, our dietary habits seems have to eat animals a lot , the law on how to raise animals for that purpose, and the high rate of food waste,

When I confessed my confused feeling to Tan-chan, a Vietnamese woman, she responded to me.
“We always should choose one thing. I want to take care of pigs on the soil in my village. But ARI has an ARI way. Since pork is a big income for ARI ,we cannot stop to feed and have to follow the law. And also, our pigs have a role to process the waste okara, rice and bread. If we stop to raise a pig, what will happen ?? Using local resources helps to become a good community.”

I was convinced that “We live choosing something and sacrificing the other.”

「Life facing lives may lead to consideration for others who share life. It is sometimes closer than a real family. If it is so, I want to make it comfortable like making music or draw it beautiful like mixing colour. Like people in ARI, I want to relate with people as we consider different countries, various favourite, or each religion etc…」」

This feeling became the answer to What is development ?
Rather, I can say I found my hope that I want to develop like this.

It is a little strange because I could not have cleared the answer in lectures even getting some opinions like “Empowerment” “Independent” “Don’t be parasite” “ Utilise local resources’ ‘ …etc. The lifestyle may have great influence on mind or action .

Finally, I would like to introduce my own poem which imagined ARI and Tonga.
As I want to express community development as an art, I put my colouring at back setting and read this poem with my friend’s piano at a presentation in ARI,

One family, we met here.
Green, Clean, Shinny Home.

One Step forward, one step backward.
Explore the treasure
Expand the positivity

One by one , we discover
Nature gives us harmony and quietness
Animals show us a sparkle of life
Soil teaches us diversity

We all grow up together

Author ; Miki Kato