“I hope the bus will bring students to school on Japanese time — which is before the bell rings,” Japan Ambassador to Marshall Islands Norio Saito said during a handover ceremony of a new school bus at Assumption School Tuesday.
“I promise to teach our students Japanese time,” Assumption Principal Victoria Langidrik later said after Father Tatieru Ewenteang blessed the bus with holy water.
Students carrying Japanese and Marshallese flags rushed to see their new ride and were joined by staff, PTA members, including PTA President Kayo Yamaguchi-Kotton and Public School System Commissioner Kanchi Hosia.
“Japan also funded the McAulif Hall, the one we use every day,” Victoria told her students. “And as principal, I promise to use the bus for the appropriate reasons and will make sure we take care of it,” she added while nodding to Ambassador Saito.
An official signing ceremony for the $77,400 bus took place last year in September at the Japan Embassy in Delap under the Japan Grant Assistance for Grassroots Project.
The government of Japan launched the Grassroots Grants Program in 1996, for the purpose of responding to various development needs of schools, hospitals as well as local governments and NGOs in the RMI. As of April 2020, the Embassy granted 151 GGP in the RMI.