Volunteering in Minami Sanriku and Kesenuma: An Introduction - Vikingess Voyages

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Volunteering in Minami Sanriku and Kesenuma: An Introduction

Minami Sanriku (南三陸) and Kesennuma (気仙沼) are two cities in the northern part of Japan's main island Honshū, and two of many areas that were stricken by the tsunamis provoked by the Tōhoku earthquake March 11th 2011.

Looking at the beautiful landscape with the trees, mountains and the sea in perfect harmony it is hard to imagine that just a year ago such a horrible disaster actually happened here. But by the woods there is a huge pile of wrecked cars, and when you look at the ground you'll notice that it is covered by houseless foundations, foundations overgrown by weeds. That's when you begin to realize the scale of the damages in the area.
The foundations of a house used to grow flowers
After the Tōhoku earthquake some newspapers referred to Minami Sanriku as the city that was washed away, and one year after the community both here and in other parts of Tōhoku still struggles with restoring their city back to how it was before the disaster. Some people still live in temporary houses, and a lot of people have left the area for good. There is a lack of manpower in the area, and although there are a large number of available jobs they still struggle with finding enough people who wants to work there. This is where us volunteers comes in, and we help the locals with various types of work in their community.

It is said that it may take as many as ten years for these areas to recover from the disaster last year. Although international media no longer pays a lot of attention to the situation in Tōhoku there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, and the local community really appreciate the work done by volunteers.

(My trip to Tōhoku was made possible thanks to support from the Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation!)
A ship next to the road in Kesennuma. And no, it was not placed there on purpose..

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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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Adventures ofAnette

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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