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Japan & U.S. YMCA Volunteers worked together

2012/03/20 5:38 に 日下部拓 が投稿   [ 2012/03/20 5:39 に更新しました ]

On Monday March 19, 5 volunteers from Seattle YMCA joined with 7 Japanese YMCA volunteers the “Kyusyu group” (5 Kumamoto and 2 Kitakyushu YMCAs Jr. College students). Together, they worked at the Iwasa Strawberry Farm in Yamamoto-cho. Directors Ohmura & Kusakabe from the Sendai YMCA Volunteer Support Center lead the two groups.

First assigned job was to attach 3 rows of long horizontal metal strips (for tying plastic sheets to the hot house) on the steel pipe framing. It was so windy and the gusts pick up sand just like in sand storms, so everyone got sand in shoes, cloths, hair, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. After lunch, volunteers helped dig out bamboo roots from behind the shed, where it wasn’t as exposed to the sandy gusts as was on the field.

After completed the assigned jobs for the day, Mr. Iwasa showed us one of his hot houses that have been producing berries since early January. He served us freshly picked straw berries, and they were sooo sweeeet!! Everyone couldn’t wait for the shower to wash off the sand.

Tuesday March 20 was supposed to be another working day for the two volunteer groups, but the Iwasa family had an emergency (his 98 years old grand mother passed away Monday morning) so the work at the farm has been canceled. Mr. Ohmura took the Kyushu group, and I took the Seattle group to visit the disaster struck areas.

Seattle Y group went to the Ohkawa Elementary School in northern Ishinomaki where 74 out of 108 students had lost lives in tsunami.  Then the group went up Hiyori-yama, a 200 feet hill from its top the Port Ishinomaki, mouth of Kitakami River, and coastal section of Ishinomaki can be viewed. Everyone was speechless to witness the magnitude of the disaster caused by tsunamis.

Seattle Y group left Sendai in early afternoon heading for Miyako where they will volunteer till 25th. Kyushu group has one more day to work in the area before heading back to their homes in Kyushu.