A Healthy Body & Soul through Growing Vegetables

Nearly 4 months have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. AAR JAPAN has been engaged in a variety of aid and relief activities, including the distribution of relief supplies, preparing soup kitchens, setting up container houses, and more. Evacuees have been living under difficult conditions, and are now slowly beginning to rebuild their lives. The following are reports from AAR JAPAN staff working in Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures.

Keeping Healthy & Fit Outdoors

On June 25th, in a temporary housing complex established on the grounds of Hirota Elementary School in Rikuzen-Takata City, Iwate Prefecture, “Iki-iki Club Activities” were held as a form of preventative maintenance exercise for evacuees (“Iki-iki” means “full of life”). Long-term evacuee life has offered survivors few opportunities to be active, which can be deleterious to their health. With this in mind, the city organized a vegetable-planting event to give elderly people living in temporary housing a chance to engage in activities out of doors.

AAR JAPAN purchased 70 tomato and cucumber seedlings at a local market, with planters and soil provided by other organizations. A soup kitchen was also made available at the event. 30 temporary housing residents participated, planting seedlings in planters one by one as they talked with one another. We hope that daily care of the plants will give the evacuees a chance to be active outdoors and interact with others. (Reporters: Hiroyuki YOKOTA and Michiko BABA, Morioka office)

June 25th – Freshly-planted seedlings: Will they be bigger tomorrow? At center is Michiko BABA; at right is Hiroyuki YOKOTA, both of AAR JAPAN. (Rikuzen-Takata City, Miyagi Prefecture)

Supporting the Independence of Persons with Disabilities

On June 22nd, AAR JAPAN delivered a computer to Mr. Azuma, who lives in Wakuya Town, Miyagi Prefecture. Before the March 11th earthquake, Mr. Azuma, who has a visual impairment, had been running a massage clinic in his home in Karakuwa Town, a part of Kesennuma City. His house was only 100 meters away from the shore, and everything but the foundation was swept away by the tsunami. All of the equipment for his clinic was lost, and he now lives in a relative’s house in Wakuya.

Mr. Azuma has had little means of getting information, but the computer will enable him to receive news on the disaster area sent from the Braille library. He told us that he would make use of the computer to reopen his clinic in the future, and we look forward to continuing to support his independence. (Reporters: Sayako NOGIWA and Natsuki ONODERA, Sendai office)

June 22nd – Mr. Azuma was able to identify each key instantly by touch. (Wakuya Town, Tooda County, Miyagi Prefecture)