Tohoku Youth Ambassador Day 2

Posted By: Creator of Zsup

It was an early start for Day 2. Getting to breakfast at 6.30am, and then moving off on the bus to Rikuzentakata at 7am.

Hotel Breakfast!
It was a 4 hour journey to Rikuzentakata, and we were privy to views of one of the worst hit areas. Rikuzentakata is actually situated right along the coastline, as a result, a lot of the buildings were just steamrolled to nothingness. Interested to note however, was that at one point I noticed that the treeline resulted in a substantial portion of land relatively untouched by the effects of the tsunami. Truly, mankind has nothing to compare with the strength of natures forces. It is also truly a testament to Japanese construction techniques that there were some buildings left standing, the structures still complete, but the insides completely ruined.
 The beginning.
 Coastal area.
 Trees that are dead, lining those that are alive.
 Crumpled truck.
 An example of the many areas in Rikuzentakata that are still undergoing relief work.

The structure of a supermarket (?) still standing.

We were briefed by the staff at the volunteer centre, and we proceeded to our designated area. Where we worked for about 2 hours non-stop. While I have no pictures to show what it was like, I can hardly begin to describe what I felt. Seeing a house in ruins, with belongings strewn all over. If it was a place I returned to gather what was left I would most certainly just feel like a void consumed me. At a loss. I uncovered a box of letters, still in dry and good condition, and was shocked to find something still left untouched by the waters. I wondered if the family would have wanted those back. Clothes, books, everything, regardless of how branded they are, are reduced to nothingness when nature bares her fangs. While I only worked 2 hours, and I was tired, I desired to continue, to do more than just that. However, we were limited by our itinerary, and so we had to leave. 

We returned to the volunteer centre, which by now was bustling with activity. More local groups had turned up to help. We did some washing, and returned the items we loaned for our work. Gargled iodine, and had some refreshment they provided. The staff were kind and thanked us profusely for our help. Instead, I felt that I had more to thank them for, than they had to me. I was allowed privy to an area that many have not seen, nor touched, nor stood upon. I was allowed to get down and dirty to do my part. My wishes were fulfilled today, to actually stand on the ground and do something physical and concrete.

I purchased a number of things to show my support. A couple of stickers and a very unique shirt that I would be proud to wear.
Re-kuzen Takata shirt, 2 stickers, and a volunteer tee. Above right: Mini tanabata gift.

Just before we left, we were presented with a volunteer shirt, with the words "Even in the toughest of times, never forget to smile."

I am truly glad to have been given this chance, to accomplish something that many would have wanted to, but few had the chance. To contribute physically and economically even in the most minute of ways to Tohoku. Just before I end off, I would like to post one last picture. One that truly captured my mind, heart and eyes.
A tree that survived. Amongst the strewn ruins. A sign of hope, providing courage to all.

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