On September 7, Peace Boat sent three staff and volunteers to Wakayama Prefecture, which was severely affected by the heavy rains following Typhoon #12 recently.
Recently volunteers have become busy with cleaning graves, as local residents have requested help to have the graves cleaned by the time of the equinox. Mainly short-term volunteers have been involved with this and everyday many volunteers are spending time cleaning graves and the surrounding area. Today’s report is about such grave cleaning activities at Saikou Temple in Kadonowaki-cho.
A barbecue is on the menu for today, as a new style of meal preparation. Up until now, ready-made meals were handed out to residents. This new style is where volunteers take the ingredients and equipment necessary to cook on the spot, together with residents. As the needs in the area are changing, the idea emerged that residents could regain some independence by creating an environment where they can cook what they want to eat themselves.
The “Dani-buster” team been working since June, and is in charge of cleaning of bedding, drying and delivery of futons, pest control in evacuation centres and particularly removing bed bugs in the more than 60 evacuation centers in Ishinomaki area according to the needs of each particular centre.
Between July 23 – August 4, 49 Junior High School students from six different schools in Minamisoma participated in the Fukushima Youth Voyage which traveled to Viet Nam, Singapore and Sri Lanka onboard Peace Boat. The students enjoyed participating in activities onboard and in the ports of call. For some of them it was their first time to travel overseas and they all gained a lot from the international exchange and learning opportunities. This is an interview with accompanying staff member Ms Yasuhara Hazuki about her experience and thoughts on the project.
Two new videos have been uploaded by the Ganbatte 365 project introduced earlier on this web site. See here for two clips of Peace Boat efforts supporting the oyster industry in Ishinomaki.
On July 26, a charity sports event called “Corrida por Japon” or “Let’s run for Japan!” was held by the Japan Chamber of Commerce in Paraguay in the capital city of Asunción. Approximately 1000 people participated in the event, during which there was a presentation explaining the current situation in the disaster-affected areas as well as a lively Taiko (Japanese drumming) performance as a prayer for recovery. Support funds which were collected at the charity event were donated to Peace Boat to be used in Peace Boat’s disaster relief operations.
Two new public baths, “Kizuna no yu” and “Fudou no yu,” were opened to the public in Ishinomaki on August 22.
While general infrastructure had been continually improving since the disaster and less and less people are using the bathing facilities, there are still people living in the evacuation centers and in areas where infrastructure has not yet been restored.
After much discussion with city hall officials, the Ishinomaki Disaster Recovery Assistance Council Inc. (IDRAC), of which Peace Boat is also a member, took on the job of constructing the baths. It was decided that Peace Boat will be in charge of the operation of the baths after opening.
It is already passed the middle of August and despite hoping that the Tohoku region would soon cool down, the hot weather continues. Here in Ishinomaki, the bug spray and fly-catching paper that arrived amongst aid supplies from all over the country had somewhat of an effect on reducing the number of flies but now the number of mosquitoes is increasing.
In response to the increase of flies and mosquitoes, Peace Boat has been installing fly screens in the evacuation centers in each region. Today’s report is about the installation of these fly screens.
On August 7, the closing ceremony of the Dougenin Temple evacuation center (“Dougenin”) in Ishinomaki was held. Dougenin was established soon after the earthquake and tsunami occurred and has been helping to protect the residents of Ishinomaki ever since. The Dougenin evacuation center taught us the important lesson that in the face of disaster, “Relationships with other people and helping each other can save lives.”