There was a celebration in Moss Point Monday afternoon, closing the book on an unique experience that a group of Japanese students and their host families will never forget.
"It was a wonderful experience from the very beginning. When they leave tomorrow, I'm sure we'll see some tears," Host parents Chris and Linda Mcnally said.
Sarah Hrobowski said she and her husband were thrilled to have the students. A memorable experience was taking them to church and also showing them some American style cooking techniques.
"I had the most wonderful experience of my life. They were so sweet, energetic and willing to learn. It's an experience that enriched my life," Hrobowski said.
The trip was made possible through the Kizuna project. Kizuna translates into "bond." The program gives students from different walks of life a chance to bond and learn from each other's culture.
"The idea is to bring 1,000 students from the United States to Japan. Then do a reciprocal program and bring the Japanese students here. We selected Moss Point because they have the largest Japanese program at the high school in the entire state of Mississippi," said Megan Bernard, US Director of the Kizuna project.
Back in July, 23 students from Moss Point High School visited Japan. For two weeks, they got to experience the Japanese culture hands on and collect memories that they will likely cherish for a lifetime. Though they probably couldn't be more different, what bonds these two groups is tragedy.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan has developed this program as a way to show the reconstruction efforts after the tsunami and earthquake of March 11, 2011. Both communities in Japan and here in Moss Point had this experience of awful natural disasters. Those are valuable conversations that I think both sides have gotten from this exchange," Bernard said.
The students will leave Tuesday morning. Before heading back to Japan, their next stop will be to New York.