I wanted to share with you my experience in Tohoku.by Cara

I wanted to share with you my experience in Tohoku the weekend before last.



As you know, in the coastal towns that were hardest hit by the tsunami, the recovery has been very slow. Donations have been generous, but have not yet reached many hands who need them.



As a result, many people want to do more than just donate. My boyfriend, his sisters and their coworkers had joined weekend volunteer trips up to Ishinomaki this spring, and I finally had time to join the weekend before last.



We went through the organization called NADIA because it is small, fairly organized and works on a grassroots level (no bureaucracy involvement). We could also join for just a weekend(most volunteer groups require a week minimum), so it didn't affect our work schedules.

ナディアは週末だけの参加で大丈夫ですので、仕事のスケジュールを変える必要ありませんでした (殆どのボランティア団体は最低一週間必要です)。 


The volunteer groups with NADIA include people – mostly working professionals – from various countries, but living in the Kantou region. There is, therefore, a lot of opportunity over the weekend to speak Japanese, English, French, German…. Our volunteer group was about 30 people, but groups can be up to 80 (when it's not as hot).

このボランティア団体参加者は、殆どが会社員で、様々な国籍で、多くが関東に住んでいます。 ですので、日本語、英語、フランス語、ドイツ語等を話す機会がいっぱいあります。私たち参加時のグループは30人ぐらいでしたが、80人ぐらいの場合もあります(あんまり暑くない時に)。


Most of us traveled together by overnight bus on Friday night (but some people arranged their own transportation by shinkansen or car). If the number of participants is high, Saturday night is spent at a ryokan outside of the affected area.



However, because the participant number was low this time, everyone could stay at the volunteer headquarters in Ishinomaki (on futon in tatami rooms). After finishing work in the afternoon on Sunday, those who choose can take the bus together back to Tokyo, and return around 10 or 11p.m.



So, what exactly does the volunteer work consist of? Anything from shoveling dirt, mud, and debris from parking lots and streets, cleaning canned goods for local stores’ distribution, but mainly removing walls, flooring and cleaning mud and mold from people's homes.


駐車所や道などの土、ヘドロ、がれき等をシャベルで取ったり、地元の店の出荷 のために缶詰製品を洗う事まで何でも。。でも、大半は民家の壁とフローリングを剥ぎ取ってその下のヘドロとカビ掃除でした。



Some problems included the bad smells in some places around the town,
getting really dirty (but we could go to an onsen at the end of the day), and being in the summer heat with all of that protective gear on.



I admit, it was a little laborious and made me tired, but I could recover fully in a few days. Moreover, the hard work was totally worth it when I saw the smiles on
people's faces as we worked on their homes or passed them in the street.

ちょっとした肉体労働で確かに疲れましたが、数日で 完全に回復しました。それと、民家で掃除中や道で通り過ぎる際に、現地の人の笑顔を見ると




It was also fun to be working with people from all over the world on a common goal.



Thank you for reading!






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