Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 30: Busy on a rainy cold day

Mornings at the volunteer campsite are busy.
We get up at six, help cleaning the site, and then make coffee and cook rice and miso soup for breakfast. We are very grateful that we are allowed to use the large kitchen of the old Tsukidate School on whose yard we are allowed to camp. Today, we have a full schedule: In the morning, part of the team drives to the locations where we will hold soup kitchens during the next few days to know where exactly they are and whether access is possible. We drive further into Rikuzen Takata to be informed of the state of the devastated areas from which evacuees have fled to find shelter in the evacuation centers where we will cook. The other half of the team starts preparing the meal we are scheduled to cook for dinner.

Today, SWTJ will prepare dinner at the old Tsukidate school. We have invited the locals who take such good care of the site where we are allowed to stay, as well as the other volunteers who use the campsite as their base camp.

A large number of local people come to the dinner.. This is a great opportunity to show our gratitude to these amazing people who support volunteers in so many ways. It is also a great way to talk to locals, to hear about their worries and quests, and to create contacts that will be fruitful for SWTJ's future activities.
Couscous, sausages, salads and other dishes are greatly enjoyed by all.

After dinner, SWTJ's Inoue and Uchida make artful cotton candy in many tastes and shades. They are popular with everybody!

Text: Shuto Naoya
Photos: Kanazawa Daisuke
(translated by B.Y.)

May 30: Driving to Rikuzen Takata

In only 20 minutes by car, we reach Rikuzen Takata from our camp site. A typhoon is sweeping through the area today; a surprisingly cold wind blows, and the rain is strong. We can only imagine how cold it must have been nearly 3 months ago on March 11 when the earthquake struck. Many people we visit in evacuation centers and shelters in and around Kesennuma have fled from these areas.

On the top left is Rikuzen Takata Hospital which has been taken up by the media time and again. More than a hundred people fled to the roof of the hospital and called for help when the tsunami inundated the area.

This used to be a rice field area dotted with farmhouses.

A location flooded by the tsunami has been marked with a big-catch banner of a fishing boat along with many small yellow flags in memory of the owner.

Text and photos: Kanazawa Daisuke
(translated and edited for the English version by B.Y.)