On June 3rd, 2023, we had the honor of visiting Tottori prefecture, specifically the city of Yonago and the town of Komachi. We came for the purpose of linking up with the medical students of the Tottori University School of Medicine and to learn firsthand about the activities they are involved in and the goals they have regarding global and local health. The first half of the day consisted of meeting the students and staff of Tottori University School of Medicine. The second half of the day was focused on visiting Komachi, a small town with a population of 49 people. When we arrived, we were given a tour of a farm where cows are raised for breeding purposes; we also had many interesting conversations with some of the residents of Komachi and learned much about the small community. Please find the full report of our visit here.
During a conversation with Endo-san, a resident of Komachi who runs a farming business with his son, we learned about the town and about the farm work he does throughout the year. He also raised concerns about the population issue of Komachi. Endo-san explained that Komachi’s population has halved within the last 30 years due to reasons such as young residents moving away.
We are grateful to the Hakuna Matata team at Tottori University who kindly arranged the trip. Throughout the day, the students amazed us with their kindness and eagerness to learn; they shared their experiences in global and local health, such as their Vietnam trip and visits to Komachi respectively, all the while continuously asking us questions about Institut Pasteur and how to make an impact in global health. When we visited Komachi and witnessed firsthand how close the Hakuna Matata team was with the residents and how they spread the importance of local medicine within the community, it was a great reminder to never neglect any community no matter how small. We plan on continuing to work closely with the students of Hakuna Matata and ensure they have the opportunity to travel within Japan and internationally for global health-related events.