The following are excerpts from my Facebook album, which I updated daily while working in Ishinomaki.

April 1st

We arrived in Ishinomaki around 3pm, and visited a University campus that is now being used as the headquarters for all volunteer activities. There we met up with Toru, who looked completely exhausted (he has been here for three weeks now). The University volunteer site was clean, organized and completely full of enthusiastic volunteers, and we thought, "wow, this isn't that bad at all, it looks like everything is under control." But, from there, Toru took us to a middle school that is being used as an evacuation center, where they have been cooking warm meals and handing out supplies to victims still living in the area.

As we got closer to the middle school, all positive excitement slowly disappeared, and none of the news images we had seen on TV could have prepared us for the shock that we experienced upon arriving at the site. I can't really express it in words, but it's something like a mix of sadness, fear, powerlessness and loss.





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