30th August Konoharagakuin 1955~1975 Part 2

Intellectually handicapped children were admitted by the Child Guidance Center after interviews between the parents and a welfare officer from the Child Guidance Center. However, a child from the orphanage was a diphtheria carrier, so the infection spread throughout the hospital, and five or six children, their caregivers, and the sisters were infected without exception.

 In order to build the St. John's Congregation's Hachioji convent, including a training school, Mother Okamura and Sister Kawakubo had to clear the slope of the mountain above the school. Mother Okamura decided to ask for help from the Occupation Forces, and was introduced to the head of the military at the Tachikawa base by one of the Occupation Forces who often came to Aiseien to help out. When she explained the situation to the people wearing many medals, they gladly showed their understanding, and two or three days later, a bulldozer arrived at the mountain. Then a crane truck came, and the sisters said a giraffe had come because it was still rare in those days to see such machinery. The soldiers were polite and worked back and forth at regular hours, so they were able to clear a large area of land and start building the two-story convent. Before the second phase of the convent was completed, the sisters gave up a corner of the staff dining room and moved into the new convent at the top of a steep hill.

 The second phase of construction to increase the capacity to 100 students included the addition of a large dining hall, a hall on the second floor, a children's wing, a watchtower, and a study wing above the dining hall to make up for the lack of a boiler room and laundry room. In March of the following year, the inauguration ceremony was held in the presence of his Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Takamatsu, Ministry of Health and Welfare officials, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and others. Around this time, Aiseien in Kodaira was discontinued. At that time, many of the children who entered the school due to the increase in the number of students came from other facilities, especially orphanages, so they had rather a high level of life skills and intelligence.

 For the first Sports Day, the parents of the children donated a lot of Anpan (sweet red bean paste), milk was brought in, and stalls were set up by each department.

 The children were also able to make mochi (rice cakes) for New Year's, and there was fun in making mackerel sushi and pressed sushi for dinner.

 The sisters taught the children the special Japanese dances "Echigo Shishi" and "Musume Dojoji," and a dexterous staff member made props and backdrops for them to perform at Sakuramachi Hospital and the Japan Red Cross Hospital in Tachikawa. They moved about in a light van and were often told that they looked like traveling actors.

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