My volunteering up North (Peter Sensei)
Last month I had the opportunity to volunteer for one day in Yamamoto in Miyagi which was hit by the Tsunami on March 11th.
Many people thought I was crazy to want to go to an area which was devastated by the earthquake, but I felt a need to contribute to the country which has been my home for 10 years.
My bus left Tokyo at midnight and arrived at the volunteer center at about 8am. By 9am I and the others were kitted out in wellington boots and overalls ready for the hard work ahead.
On this occasion 12 families had asked for help in cleaning up their houses; the military had already cleaned up the large debris so the roads were clear, but these peoples’ houses were covered in mud and the bushes in their gardens had died.
We spent the day in the strong heat of the sun digging up dead plants in their gardens and scooping up mud from under the floorboards. It was hard work, but seeing how grateful the people were made it all worthwhile.
Something which surprised me was how positive the people from this area were. At the end of the day when we were getting ready to leave, the leader of the group gave a speech and told us to come back and visit soon as the town is almost back to normal and the area is famous for strawberries and other fruits.
I can see myself going back there in the future, as I would really like to experience the hospitality of these resilient people.
Let’s not forget about these people and keep volunteering, donating and keeping them in our thoughts.