Yesterday I watched ‘Stage Earth’ at the Nikkei Place in Burnaby. It’s a performance by psychiatrist Dr. Norihiko Kuwayama where he shares his experience as a volunteer medical doctor in developing countries and in conflict areas. He is striving to connect with children worldwide through visuals and music. Over 2,000 performances have been held since its launch in January 1996 in Japan. This concert was at the high school in North Delta too this year.
Through his thoughtful narration and slideshow accompanied with original songs, he shared his experience. I was impressed with his courage and modest attitude. I knew these disasters happened but I couldn’t think about people who live on the site like him.
He had many stories to tell but the most impressive one for me was when he was in Palestine. He visited Rafah in the Gaza in January 2009 in the midst of air raids. Right after entering Gaza through border control, a bomb blasted close by, but he managed to enter Rafah and started working at the emergency at a city hospital. At that time, his Palestinian friend commented, “What we most fear is not bombing, but to feel despair that we have been abandoned by all the people in the world.”
At the end of the performance, an audience member asked him a question. “You have a special skill as a doctor. However, I’m not a doctor; I don’t have them. What can I do for people?” He answered we are the same people. So, if we have an arrogant attitude, we won’t be accepted. We need to be accepted by the people to understand their needs and we need to be flexible. The most important thing is to tell them we are here for you.
There are many ways to support people but first, the most important thing is study and know the problems.