That’s that then. The daughter is now on her way to Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, after a spot of training in Tokyo.
Iris was the leading force in the creation of Number 8 Network. While studying journalism she noted she knew more about the goings-on in Hamilton than she did Gordonton, where she had been born and raised. We needed something for our patch, she felt and in 2011 community website N8N was launched.
Not long after Iris left the Waikato but she’d always come back to Gordonton.
Now trips home will be a little bit harder, as she settles in Minamisoma, a city with a population slightly smaller than Rotorua, ready to teach English at Odaka Elementary School.
Minamisoma is possibly best known for the thousands of videos of the chaos and devastation following the 2011 tsunami. The infamous Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station is just 25km away from her apartment.
We of course looked into possible risks of radioactive contamination and, six years on, there is little to worry about.
The area where Iris will be living is within the limits recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, although there are areas not far south and west where lvels are still elevated and people have not yet moved back.
At the start, Iris expressed an interest in being posted to an area where she could be involved with a community in a meaningful way. In recent years she has worked for NZ charities Be.Accessible and Inspiring Stories and spent a week in Sri Lanka last year, visiting children in a remote village with ChildFundNZ –
“An incredible day in the field, meeting some of the most resilient, hardworking, selfless people, who are all so dedicated to their communities… “
Now it is time to go further afield, and for longer. Iris says Minamisoma is a proud city, steeped in history – “… the people are starting to come back and rebuild their community, almost literally from the ground up. Yes, I’m going over there as an Assistant Language Teacher in an elementary school. But hopefully I will be able to find other ways to be of service to the community, and play a role, however small, in the healing process. Let’s see how this unfolds.”
Number 8 Network will miss its curly haired co-founder, and likes to think being involved with N8N helped her take the path she is on. After all, there are many hard-working people giving freely of their time and energy here in our patch.
Koun subete no besuto Iris! N8N looks forward to sharing some of your stories.