“You Came to Visit Us- That Made Us the Happiest”

Almost 3 months have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. AAR JAPAN has done various activities for the survivors: delivered relief supplies, organized soup kitchens and set up the container houses which are an alternative to the government temporary housing. Even with the support, they go through a hard life at the evacuation centers, but everyday they realize the importance of “interacting with others” It is a report from staff working in Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures. 

Happy People Interacting with an American Group

June 3rd - People at the facilities and from the American group hugging each other. They could make themselves understood in spite of communication difficulties. (Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture)

On June 3rd, AAR JAPAN went to a social welfare corporation “Madoka,” a job assistance facility for persons with disabilities in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, and delivered clothing. It seemed that people at the facility longed for our arrival and when they noticed that we were getting ready at the parking lot, they came to the parking lot and welcomed us. Today, an American group came with us. The people at the facility received T-shirts and towels printed “Love from Oregon” and “Hug from America” and they interacted vividly with the visitors from foreign country.

When we were leaving the facility, “hugs” had started from nowhere and in a moment, it became a “Group Hug!” They were sad over the farewell, but they promised to see each other again in the future. Even after three months, nothing much has changed and the people at the facility have put much effort to get back to the normal daily life as soon as possible. I was emotional when I heard “I am really happy when people came to visit us and meet face to face.” (Reporter: Reiko OBATA, Sendai office)

I Can Never Forget the Comment “It Is Good to Laugh”

June 2nd - Ms. YAMAZAKI (right) facing poverty because of the earthquake and is one of the victims. (Kamaishi City in Iwate Prefecture)

On June 2nd, I brought food, condiment, and electric appliances such as a rice cooker to Ms. YAMAZAKI’s house. Her husband needs hemodialysis, but because of the disaster, he could not receive the treatment and his condition got worse so that he could not work any longer. Since their house does not have any noticeable damage, they cannot get any relief supplies from the municipality; even worse, they are not eligible to receive any donations. They are trying hard to stand on their own, but their savings has almost run out.

She found AAR JAPAN’s activities in the newspaper. After hearing from her, today was my third visit to her house; she was really happy to receive the supplies. Even though she faces the stress from nursing her husband, prolonged life as evacuees and uncertainty concerning the future, I wish that she could derive comfort from our short and puerile conversation. When I was leaving, she cried and said, “It is good to laugh.” I can never forget her comment. (Reporter: Teruyo MIYAGAWA, Michiko BABA, Morioka office)