Posted by: japanecolodge | June 4, 2011

One typical day at Kawakita Volunteer Center

You might wonder what we do all day. So, we are introducing our typical daily schedule at Kawakita Volunteer Center. If you are thinking about coming to help, read this for your reference. (The site is weather dependent and the availability of the number of the volunteers also changes what we are able to carry out)

7:00am

breakfast – rice and miso soup are ready to serve by this time. Side dishes are leftovers and ones that are brought by someone.

lunch preparation- make rice balls – you make your own

other preparations – once everybody is ready to roll, all of us gather to start loading goods (shovels, wheelbarrow)

cleaning – clean the center where we use daily, there is no one in charge for this task, but gets done by people who have time to spare

08:00am

morning meeting – allocate vehicles for the day’s task

mud busters are now on duty

today, we work at Tanichi district to remove the cement block walls

it’s quite hot during the day, people sweat with manual labor

remove the blocks by hammering into small pieces

after the work, it looks quite nice

a whole picture of a house, now the block wall is removed, the debris  that you see in front are the ones been worked on

15:00 work completion

smiles after safe return, Bunkyo University #6 delegation joined from today

tidy away – each person helps to clean the tools and instruments used on the day to prepare for tomorrow

dinner preparation – everybody gets together to prepare dinner, it is more effective

taking a bath – if one wishes, he or she can go to a bath, to a hotspring near the roadside station. the one without a car can share a ride. sometimes our neighbors invite us into their houses for baths

18:00

dinner is served during 18:00 – 20:30

19:00

study at night – local junior and senior high students show up to study, the teachers are the volunteers. if you are not good at teaching, don’t worry, take the chance to be a teacher.

the kids are looking forward to listening to your stories, where you come from, the life experience you share

20:30

night meeting – review agenda for tomorrow, but also share comments based on the work done

free time – depending on the physical condition, one can go to sleep if desired. one can continue to communicate with others, but not too late to obstacle tomorrow’s job

These are pretty much what we do for a day, a case for mud musters. There are other teams working, investigation team, goods distribution team, cooking team, etc. There are many involved here at the center to make it work, including me who oversees the coordination tasks among other volunteer centers and offers orientation for the new comers.

Working with a computer is a challenge for me. One day an elementary school kid called me ‘computer uncle’. I wish he would have called me at least ‘a brother’.

 

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

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Posted by: japanecolodge | May 20, 2011

Human warmth adds more values to the needed

From Tohoku RQ headquarter

Today we have guests from a cosmetic company to the next door evacuation center.

The staff were applying facial and hand massage as well as eye brow trimming to the local ladies.

From looking at a distance, we could see the ease on their faces with good complexion after the treatment which also made us happy.

The cosmetic company staff were a bit tense at first, however its feeling lessened as there were exchanges of warmth.

It is great to learn not only giving their products, but also their warmth.

We would love to see more of these exchanges that bring positive feelings.

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

Posted by: japanecolodge | May 20, 2011

From Utatsu – Styrofoam clean-up completed

RQ volunteer center has been working since May 14 is now completed on the 18, thanks to the cooperation of many. Here are some photos of what has been done.

Day 2 – still ways to go

Day 3 – some improvements are witnessed

Day 4 – mostly cleaned

Completed! We hope that this creek will filled with lush greenery next time.

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

Posted by: japanecolodge | May 17, 2011

Disaster areas: Shockingly away from recovery

We are called upon by Kawakita town community to work near Kitagami River mouth in Iwate Prefecture with a base in a forestry center.

The tsunamis reached upstream, more than 10 kilometers from the river mouth, to the center.

Traveling downstream, there are tsunami scars that went over the breakwaters into the rice field.

Houses that were inundated with mud have painful tasks to remove them.

Many volunteers contributed to carry out furniture and scoop out the mud out of the house with cooperation of Ishinomaki City Social Welfare Council.

This is the Okawa Elementary School where many students are teachers became the victims of the tsunami.

When a memorial service was held, many bunches of flowers were offered at the school gate.

At Kawakita Volunteer Center, the victims themselves come to claim for the goods. We also teach junior high kids on the school curriculum.

Kawakita Volunteer Center is supervised by ‘Tsuka-chan’, a staff member of Kurikoma Nature School.

Recently we enlarged our activity areas to beautiful Ojika Penninsula, in a distance there is a Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant power line tower.

On May 6, we’ve partnered with Ishinomaki Volunteer Center and Japan Foundation to send new college volunteers to Kitsunezaki.

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

Posted by: japanecolodge | May 10, 2011

No-frills sentiment

Today, like yesterday, we went to help our new neighbor community who moved from Minamisanriku town for the cleanup in preparation for the pre-fabricated houses.

I have been talking with the leader there, and a phrase he has used still remains inside me. It is what he calls, ‘shameful’.

‘It’s shameful that we have to show these.’

‘It’s shameful that you come to help us.’

There is nothing shameful about this, I think.

‘This has not happened due to your cause, we are happy that we could be of your help’, this was my usual reply when we started to work trying to ease what they are going through.

After working for days with them, I start to understand what he really means by saying ‘shameful’.

The land that they are on belong to them, and if there were any guests visiting their land, they would have prepared something special to greet them which cannot be achieved at the current state.

They would have shown us the beautiful town of theirs. The visitors could have enjoyed sightseeing. These sentiments are unspoken but felt deeply being with them. I can understand how they think, I would have thought the same if we were the disaster victims.

Since I have been here, my sentiment toward the victims has changed completely, there were no victims until the DAY, March 11. They had no choice but to become the victims since then.

What we can do here as a volunteer is to treat them, not as a victim but as a person, calling them by …san.

I was thinking about this as I were helping to remove the damaged green house.

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

Posted by: japanecolodge | May 9, 2011

Road-sign-making project

Today, we the ‘mud busters’ have a different task at Koamikurahama beach.

The beach we went the other day to collect the commercial fishing equipment. Some of us were all new to the new task of collecting construction materials, however, the materials were gathered before we know it.

From these materials, we carefully selected the good ones such as plywoods and boards to make into road signs. Here Bunkyo University student vounteers were especially  helpful.

Relatively fast, one after another, unique road signs were created. These students are all going back to Tokyo after completing this volunteer task. This was a last memorable mission for them.

Ishinomaki area still has many road with bumps. So please watch your road when you drive in.

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

Posted by: japanecolodge | May 6, 2011

Slow but sure process on a pocket beach cleanup

We have worked on 8 locations today. Of which 2 were beach cleanups and the rest were carrying furniture and house cleanups.

Small beaches in Karakuwa Penninsula are piled up with fishermen’s gear and wooden debris from the houses that were cast ashore with the tsunami.

Seems like there are more work on these beaches as there are many.

At the moment, we live in the compound of a nursing home ‘Tsukushi no ie’ on the corner with three tents. They also let us use the bath and toilet.

The good news is there are new volunteers who are originally from the local area Karakuwa but live in Tokyo have joined our force for 3days at the RQ volunteer center.

Tomorrow, we are expected to continue the same work where we left off. Other events will be held for kite flying in the Kesennuma High School organized by National Institute for Youth Education, as well as kids games hosted by the local fire fighters.

We are all doing well.

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

Posted by: japanecolodge | May 5, 2011

Living within comfort zone

In Kokusai Shizen Daigakko or National Outfitters Training School, two families moved in since the quake. One family came from Minamisoma city in Fukushima Prefecture on April 2. Mother, 1st son (12th grader), 2nd son (11th grader), 1st daughter (7th grader), and 2 dogs.

The 1st daughter enjoyed her entrance ceremony to a new school in her new city, Nikko, however the other sons’ high schools still have not instructed anything since the disaster.

Nikko Kirifuri branch of this  outfitters training school organizes a weekly potluck party for old and new residents.

Also on the monthly basis, they hold a “mama’s cafe” where the local children and their mothers gather. The newly moved residents are also encouraged to join these events to share their experiences related to the disaster in exchange for getting local information through other mothers that may be useful for them.

During these gathering events, the newly-moved  high school and junior high school students were indeed quite helpful to play with the smaller local children despite others’ expectation.

The Nikko Kirifuri branch school is becoming a location where people with various background gather. Living just the right distance away from others but close enough to feel comfortable, within the comfort zone.

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

Posted by: japanecolodge | May 1, 2011

Working behind the scenes

The administration office in the Tome headquarter has numerous tasks. They are posted on the board.

From early morning to late at night, we are working indoor. Other volunteers do not know exactly what we do, but what we do are imperative to the volunteer activities here!

Most work comprises;

  • volunteer coordination and management
  • aid procurement and coordination
  • telephone and email response
  • public relations against government, mass media, companies, etc.
  • information sharing between volunteer centers and RQ headquarter in Tokyo
  • accounting
  • orientation for new volunteers
  • handover support among different teams
  • information gathering and dissemination
  • flyer and display making
  • volunteer coordination who needs to bathe
  • ..and much more
Our tasks are not just limited to office work but require brain power. Yet not so popular for the new volunteers as the work look unspectacular. Ones that enjoy, on the other hand, cannot see when to quit.
We needed a breakthrough in this demanding work, so we’ve decided to hold a first meeting themed, ‘all work can be digested with joy’.
Please come help us at the administration office!

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

Posted by: japanecolodge | April 29, 2011

Making new friends at RQ Volunteer center

Followings are some excerpts of one volunteer;

Ken went home on the 22nd, a volunteer who I’ve met here. He came about the same time as I did and spent full days together with him.

He appears to be an elusive man, but by heart, he is full with passion.

The day that Okawa Junior High School was reopened, the students came with a ride of their parents. After brief courtesies, they expressed their appreciation for the group-effort banner, filled with autographs and cheering words.

We were still shoveling out the muds and the students are still going to a different neighboring school with a bus. They were happy to see the banner upon arrival of their school.

Actually, the idea to make this banner was Ken’s. He came up with this idea during the last meeting the day we completed the mud cleaning saying ‘Would they be happy if we had provided a group banner?’

Unanimous agreement spread the floor, then Bunkyo university students were soon to take action with a title, Revive Okawa Junior High!’ Other RQ members as well as others present on site joined the effort. The banner was then hung in the school.

I am happy to learn that our wishes including Ken’s have been delivered to the students. Showing their beaming yet modest smiles were the moment I would have loved others to take part in.

There are many that are working here that make me think from the deepest of my heart;  I would love to unite in the days to come. I thank for this opportunity to meet many good people.

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

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