Volunteer Report from Minami-Sanriku: Day 1 - Vikingess Voyages

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Volunteer Report from Minami-Sanriku: Day 1

Today was my first full day as a volunteer for United Earth in Minami-Sanriku. This area was stroken by  tsunamis last year provoked by the great Tohoku earthquake, and it is still a long way to go before Minami-Sanriku can reach full recovery. United Earth is working on various projects in the area, and as a volunteer you get the chance to try out a vide range of activities that helps the locals getting their community back to normal. 
Although the direct damage of the tsunamis isn't that visible anymore, if you look more closely you can see the foundations indicating where there used to be houses. Some people are still living in the area, but most of them only have temporary housing. 
Ready for work! In the background you can see temporary houses.

We are about 30 volunteers here at the moment, and so we all get assigned to smaller groups, and I ended up in the mowing-group. There are a lot of overgrown lots in the area, and our job today was to clean up one of them. 
Part of the area we cleaned today. There used to be a house here before the tsunami came..
Getting rid of weed and sunflowers..
Statues that were found in the area after the tsunami
The biggest problem was that there was a lot of gravel on the lot, which made it quite a hard job to clear it all. And as the temperature climbed close to 35 degrees after our lunch brake the progression slowed down as well.
The work progressing slowly..
What we in Norway would call "bonde-brun"..!
Along with the weed there were also a lot of sunflowers growing on the lot.
Finished for the day.!
 We managed to clean up most of the area, but there is still a lot of work left to be done on the lot, so we'll go back tomorrow to finish the job! The first day is over, and I'm already exhausted. Haha.. But at the same time it was an awarding day, and I feel that the work we did really was appreciated by the locals too. 明日も頑張りましょう!

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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  1. Glad to hear that you're enjoying your volunteering experience. I would recommend that all students become student volunteers for an organization. You can learn so much from volunteering.


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A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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