Born in the Netherlands, Dina Ellens has experienced a variety of cross cultural settings ranging from the USA, where she was educated, to Asia. She taught school in Southeast Asia for more than 25 years and is now retired. Dina remains active in volunteer work as well as pursuing her interests in early childhood education and writing.
My son's voice broke as he spoke, "Mom, I don't know what's happening. I just moved my family in order to take a new job, but now that job has fallen through!"
I did my best to encourage him, but as the minutes went by, I could tell I wasn’t getting through the wall of anguish.
After hanging up, I couldn’t get my son’s situation out of my mind. Finally I stopped everything else to pray about what he was going through. My son and his wife are active Christians and responsible young parents. I knew that he would do the best he could to support his family, but I knew, too, that the worldwide economic slump meant it was even more difficult than usual to get a good job.
Shortly after the Tohoku earthquake and ensuing tsunami of March 11, 2011, I read an article about the 600-year-oldstone markers that previous generations of Japanese had erected in the hills along the coastline where many past communities had been devastated by tsunamis. The boulders marked how far inland the wave from a previous tsunami had reached and warned residents not to build below that line.
The stone markers were disregarded by modern property developers who built far below the safety line, some right up to the coastline. Seawalls were built to protect the new residential areas, and engineers were confident that they would be able to withstand any tsunami. The seawalls failed, and the only villages that were spared were those inland and uphill of the stone markers.