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

May 17th

Each day that I spend here, I learn and experience something, but before I have the time to absorb, comprehend and understand what that something is, I have another experience fall upon me, and I feel like I'm running in that endless treadmill gig...

Today was the last day for Harada-san, who is the leader of the SDF team stationed right next to our cookout tent. He is a caring gentleman who would always stop by our tent in the morning just to say hi. He would then come back later and give us whatever extra supplies they had for the day. One time he came over to ask what we were preparing for the day, and when we replied: "Tonjiru (pork soup) without the pork..." He quietly came back later with a bag of pork which I think was not extra, but taken out from the portion they had set aside for themselves. Him and the men and women under him, are the ones who completely changed my image of the SDF.

Also today, Masako, one of the survivors who used to live in the evacuation center, invited us to her house. The Tsunami came up to about 4.5ft. above the floor in her place, but luckily, she was able to run to a safe building before the Tsuami arrived. She lived in the evacuation center for a while after the earthquake, but has since moved back to her house and now lives in the second floor. She shared with us her experiences from the day of the earthquake, and talked about her current situation. We then discussed what exactly it is that the survivors want now, and what kind of support is being requested, from their perspective.

Her entire neighborhood was evaluated by the city as "unfit for residence," so she has given up on staying in Ishinomaki and is planning on moving to Tochigi, where she has family. She has lost almost everything she owned, and must now leave the place where she has spent most of her life. Despite these circumstances, she said to us with a smile: "But, thanks to the Earthquake, I was able to meet all of you, and that is a wonderful gift. I am happy and proud to know that there are many young people like you still in this Country."

Well, another day, and I still can't catch up with comprehending my experiences...

  以下は現地での活動報告を毎晩アップしていたFacebookのアルバムから抜粋したものです。

5月17日

毎日現場で多くのことを感じ・考えながら過していますが、それらをきちんと理解する前にまた新しいことを経験するという繰り返しに追われているような気がしています・・・それでも今回は前回に比べて災害現場に慣れてきたので作業に追われるだけの毎日というよりは、人との繋がりを深める事ができたり、冷静に現場の現状を見る事が出来ていると思います。

今日は普段炊き出しをしてる避難所で仲良くなった昌子さんのお宅にチームメンバーを呼んでいただきました。昌子さんの家は一階で床上1m30cm〜40cm位のところまで津波がきて大きな被害を受けました。初めのうちは避難所で暮らしていたものの、その後家に戻り今は2階で暮らしているとの事でした。震災当日の話を少し伺った後に今の生活環境を見せてくれて、僕らの炊き出しも含め、今後求められる支援の形などを話し合いました。家は住める状態ではなく、市がその地区一帯の家を全て壊す予定だそうです。昌子さんは石巻に住み続けることを諦め、親戚を頼って栃木に引っ越すとの事でした。震災によって多くのものを失い、長年住んできた土地を離れることを余儀なくされた状況の中で昌子さんが『でも、お陰であなたたちに会えたから。こんな若者が日本にいると知って安心しました。』と笑顔で言ってくれた時は返す言葉がありませんでした・・・

また、今日は僕らの炊き出しの横で活動をしている自衛隊の原田総長の最終日でもありました。原田さんは本当に優しく、気遣いのある人で、毎日必ず僕らのところに顔を出してくれて余った食材を分けて下さったり、『今日は何を作りますか?』との質問に僕らが『今日は豚無しの豚汁です。』と答えたら、本来は自分たちで使う予定の肉を少し減らして僕らに分けてくれたり、本当に色んな形で支援をいただきました。また、リーダーに習ってか、原田さんの指揮下の隊員のみなさんも良い人たちばかりで、僕の自衛隊に対するイメージを完全に塗り替えるきっかけとなった人です。

またまた多くのことを感じ・考えた一日。今日も理解には至りませんでした・・・




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