Everything started with one mail from Christine who had just returned from the Tohoku region on her media report job immediately after earthquake. She sent a mail to several friends, and talked about the disastrous scene of the stricken area.
“It’s not productive to be in grief in front of television. The people in refuge centers are suffering from shortage of necessary goods, and their house is heavily damaged, they need immediate help. It’s also important to raise donation fund staying in Tokyo, but they need our actual hands to give them support. Let’s go to support as soon as possible, making sure to bring our food and drink, and secure our accommodation.”
Soon two friends raised their hands up, and departed Tokyo on 24/March. We started our activity at Tagajo-city, which is 15 kilometers away from Sendai. It’s only 12 days after earthquake, and there were still aftershock continuously, infrastructure like gas wasn’t back yet even big city like Sendai. Not a hotel was open regularly. The only place which accepted us is a hotel so called “Love Hotel”, and because of that hotel our activity became possible.
Three women in a Love-Hotel room, our stay was far more comfortable than we expected. In a room we had everything we needed except for hot shower. There was a microwave oven, water boiler, massage chair, a king sized bed, fridge, air-conditioner, playstation, karaoke, movie projector, even romantic room lighting! Although we hardly used any of those fancy facility, considering the fact that many houses and refuge centers were enduring black-out, we appreciate “Hotel Bonita” so much.
As we continue our activity at Tagajo city, cleaning their houses, moving out their furniture, helping reception in city hall, checking relief supply, we understood what is needed at stricken area.
When weekend came, three more friends joined us with car-full relief supply, and continued volunteer activity at Tagajo. We realized, more volunteer numbers we have, more efficient our activity became.
After work, back to Bonita hotel, we talked about future volunteer plan through night, with foods and wines we brought from Tokyo.
We went back to Tokyo once to prepare for next bigger scaled plan, and soon we came back to Miyagi. And since then, we visit Miyagi every weekend.
As we continue our activity at Tagajo city, we realized there were many more heavily damaged area, and people there need desperately our help. We set our activity point at Ishinomaki city, where houses were still remained untouched 3 weeks after tsunami.
At first we brought relief supply and our own gears from Tokyo, but as they started recovering from damage, we saw shops and restaurants were restarting their business. When we made sure they had enough supply, we decided to get relief goods and necessary gears from local shops, and try to buy stuff from them, this is because we aim to encourage their local business.
We order our lunch at local shop and they deliver them to us. And also, instead of camping, we enjoy staying at local Ryokan, which is still not perfectly in operation, but restarted their business trying to recover as soon as possible. On top of that, enjoying their open-air hot spring after full day work is totally priceless!!
By this way, we believe that Nadia can also support local business and employment, and it will be an investment for future development.
Everything started from one mail which was sent from the person eye witnessed the scene.
If you think you are helpless in front of natural disaster, join us once, and tell your friends what you saw.
You can change the world…