Today, I would like to share a nice story with all of you, who helped in some way participating with Nadia activities.
I met Mr. Okada (not real name). One month ago, with his wife, in front of their half destroyed house. Both looked quite lost by what had happened to them. At that time, more than two months after the tsunami, they had been living on the second floor of their house, going to the refugee center once a day to receive food. His wife had lost 3 members of her family in the tsunami.
When we started helping them to clean their garden, backyard, and inside of the house., it was not easy: he did not know what to keep and what to throw away, so the volunteer work had to be slow, but we all put our full energy to clean the place at his pace.
His wife mentioned to us that she wanted to leave the nice house they had built in Ishinomaki and move toSendai, where their two daughters were working. The smell of rotting fertilizer from a warehouse behind the house was so strong that it was hard for us to work there, and for them to live there. She could not see herself living in the house in Ishinomaki again. Mr. Okada was planning to follow his wife toSendaiafter gathering some items from their house and garden.
That weekend, we all worked hard but could not finish the work started. The week after I went, other Nadia teams, one per week for 3 weeks in total, took over the hard work in his house and garden and we eventually finished the work.
Last week, I went to visit him to say hello. He was not home, but I had the opportunity to talk with his wife, who expressed her gratitude to Nadia volunteers. She was proud to show me the result of 3 weeks of Nadia volunteer work. Indeed, I had to admit: we all did a great job!
Their daughter incidentally made a phone call to her, and knowing that a Nadia member was there, she insisted to talk to me. With a voice full of emotion, she deeply thanked us to be there to support her parents, something she could not do with her job inSendai. I mentioned we would meet, around a cup of tea, when things will have settled down… in a few months.
Then, on June 27, while I was back toTokyo, Mr. Okada called me: he was sorry he could not meet me during the weekend in Ishinomaki. He took this opportunity to thank Nadia volunteers for the great help and constant support we have been giving for 3 weeks.
He gave me a big news: they are now ready to stay in their house in Ishinomaki (even though they will still have to live on the second floor for quite a while, and will still have to receive their food from the refugee center). The house and garden look good, and make them remember our intensive work, that was always done with smiling faces, positive energy, and enthusiasm. Thanks to Nadia volunteers, they learnt to accept the situation in a more relaxed way, being more laidback. They will repair the house at their own pace, and are looking forward a new future.
My turn now to THANK YOU all! For joining, for participating, for enjoying helping people, for bringing your friends! Our enthusiasm and goodwill makes the difference in Ishinomaki! I think the story here is not rare and am sure all of you who joined Nadia gave hope to all the people you helped.
There is still a lot ahead, we will find ways to help the reconstruction, so that people like Mr. Okada will have a normal life again. Looking forward to working with you again!