Last Saturday and Sunday, more than thirty students from Maastricht University and Hogeschool Zuyd, as well as eleven Japanese students who are at the moment teaching at the school of higher education, collected two thousand euros for the victims of the earthquake in Japan. They did this by selling the origami cranes that they had folded, on the Vrijthof.
“We sold a thousand of them,” says co-organiser Erik Mooren, a fourth-year student of International Business. “We transferred the proceeds to the Red Cross. The paper cranes cost 1 euro, but a lot of people gave five or ten euros. They could do either of two things with them: take them home or hang them in the stall. In the end there were 853 birds hanging in the stall. We will supplement this number to make a thousand and present them to the Japanese embassy in The Hague.”
Mooren, who studied in Japan last year, will be going to Osaka in three weeks time to do a traineeship, with a company that produces packaging. His girlfriend lives in Tokyo. “It is not always clear how things are with radiation. It is not in Osaka at any rate, in Tokyo it partly depends on the weather.”
He thinks it is admirable how the Japanese are dealing with the disaster. “Everyone is doing what they can, inhabitants of Tokyo but also supermarkets are limiting the use of electricity, in solidarity with the people in the disaster area. Where Haiti still hasn’t got its affairs in order, Japan is already working on redevelopment. There is no chaos anywhere, everyone remains calm and disciplined.”
The nicest thing about the action on the Vrijthof, he though, were the meetings between Japanese people who live here. “They did not know each other, but got talking at our stall. Not just about the disaster, as far as I could follow their conversation, but mainly about their lives in Maastricht.”
On 7 April (19:00 hrs) students will give a benefit concert in the Music Academy, a mixture of classical music and jazz