Volunteering in Minami Sanriku: United Earth - Vikingess Voyages

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Volunteering in Minami Sanriku: United Earth

United Earth is a volunteer group that have been contributing to the still ongoing recovery of Minami Sanriku since the area was devastated by tsunamis in March 2011.

The members are almost exclusively Japanese (there was a French freelance journalist here the first couple of days I was here); at the present I'm the only foreigner in the group which right now in the summer holiday counts close to 50 members. Still, if you have a certain level of Japanese knowledge you'll meet a lot of friendly and nice people coming from all over the country.

The volunteer group United Earth has been helping out in the area since the disaster stroke last year, and they are helping out the community through various projects. These projects covers a wide range of sectors including fishery, forestry, removal of weeds, farming, senior citizen's home, a seaweed factory, and their activities varies according to the demand from the community. The recovery of the community takes time, and there is a lack of manpower in the area even with a lot of available jobs.

In order to get to Minami Sanriku there is a bus running three times a day from Sendai at 8:00, 14:10 and 16:20, and registered volunteers has the opportunity to get picked up at Hotel Kanyō (観洋). Staying as a volunteer costs around 3000 yen pr. night depending on the duration of the stay (repeaters pay less than the regular price). This covers most daily life expenses, so you don't have to worry about special equipment or food during your stay.
Working at a factory cutting seaweed
Cleaning an area for trunks
Holding an event at a senior citizen's home
Some other post with activities I participated in:
-Kessennuma's Sea Weed Factory

-United Earth's members are almost exclusively Japanese. If you prefer a more mixed volunteer group, check out for instance It's Not Just Mudd.

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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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