MOSES LAKE — We may not appreciate it all of the time, but the area we live in is full of rich beauty and countless sights to see. Three special visitors from Yonezawa, Japan, Moses Lake’s sister city, had the opportunity to take in a number of those sights last week and made the most out of their brief visit to the Columbia Basin.
The three visitors were in the area as a part of the Moses Lake-Sister City Exchange Program, which sees local Moses Lake students sent to Yonezawa for a little under two weeks and Japanese students doing the same in the Moses Lake area. The exchange program between Moses Lake and Yonezawa dates back to 1981.
“The Moses Lake students go to Yonezawa and live with them. Then there is like a two or three day break and then those (Yonezawa) students come here and live with the students who lived with them,” Sister City Program Board Treasurer Terry Moore explained. “They are a great group of kids this year.”
The students were brought all around Grant County last week and had the opportunity to visit places ranging from Summer Falls, to the Cowboy Breakfast in Moses Lake, the Grand Coulee Dam and the Grant County Courthouse. Perhaps the most popular stop for the students was checking out the waters of Moses Lake.
“I was so amazed at how big the lake actually is. We would just take the boat out, and we would take forever to get nowhere and come back,” Yonezawa student Rion Okubo said. “My host father took us out on a boat last night after dark, and that was the first time for me to be on a boat after dark. I would like to know more about this city.”
Being in a new area one might expect there to be some cultural barriers for the Japanese students to overcome, but Scott Vrieling, who hosted one of the students in his home, said that wasn’t necessarily the case.
“I didn’t see anything really. They already have such a good reputation for being here and being good partners,” Vrieling said.
The students still have a few more stops, including the Grant County Fair on Tuesday, before they leave town on Wednesday and fly back home on Thursday.
Richard Byrd can be reached via email at email@example.com.