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KUMAMOTO, Japan – October 26, 2019: 8pm (Nuku’alofa Times): She now lives a content life helping people who need her service.

Former nurse Hiromi Nakamura, 72, has turned fulltime volunteer worker with the Kumamoto City-based organisation Yukyu No Kai.

After having survived the double earthquakes that hit Kumamoto in 2016 she says helping others to recover is what she loves doing now.

The former nurse turned volunteer worker at the meeting house where she and her fellow volunteers hosted the APIC Japan Media Fellowship team. Photo: NUKU’ALOFA TIMES

“I love this volunteer job, to be able to help others recover and return to normal life,” she told the Nuku’alofa Times this morning at the temporary housing village she was serving in.

“I was a victim also with my husband when our house was partly damaged by the earthquakes in Kumamoto City,” she said.

“We moved here (temporary housing village) and stayed here for 18 months until our house was repaired. Now I am a volunteer and I come to help the residents here and help them also to return to their homes.”

She visits the temporary housing village almost every day during the week and helps residents with their housework if needed.

“Since I am a nurse I also help them with their health,” she said.“And when they move to their new places I come here to help them pack and move as well.”

This morning she was awake at 6am to help prepare meals at the temporary housing village community center, where members of their volunteer group were hosting breakfast for residents.

The author with Rena Petersen (Japan) and Leilani Reklai (Palau) enjoying the breakfast prepared by the volunteers on Saturday morning. Photo: NUKU’ALOFA TIMES

“I came here early with other volunteers and started preparing the breakfast because we are hosting this event,” she said.

“We are very happy to have you and all your friends as well.”

Mrs Nakamura and her husband have a daughter and two grandchildren who live in Yokohama.

She said being involved with volunteer work is exciting “because I am able to meet a lot of people and help them.”

Her secret to long life is “eat a lot of vegetables, drink a lot of water and health juice, take a lot of warm baths and do your exercise.”

Her group hosted for breakfast the members of the Association for Promotion of International Cooperation (APIC) Japan Journalism Fellowship this morning.

  • Iliesa Tora is a member of the APIC Japan Media Fellowship in Kumamoto this week.

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