27
May 2011

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Mr Ito Yoshiaki joined as volunteer in Ishinomaki from April 23 - May 7

Volunteer interview – Ito Yoshiaki

Mr Ito started his volunteer stint on April 23, initially with sludge removal. He says he was a complete loss of words at the devastation. The area he once knew was completely unrecognizable.
However, seeing the local people starting up their businesses again and picking up the pieces after the tragedy gave him an immense sense of hope.

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May 2011

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Volunteer Coordinator Ueshima Yasuhiro

Interview with Relief Project Coordinator – “as long as the needs exist, it is important to ensure enough volunteers”

“For example, it is so important to make sure that the efforts are sustainable – that we can guarantee to provide meals not only today, but also tomorrow. If the number of volunteers decreases, it will be difficult to maintain the activities we are responsible for at the moment, and so we really want to ask volunteers to continue coming to Ishinomaki. Also, those people who have already volunteered once have a good understanding of the situation and the work itself, and so it is a huge help if people can come to volunteer more than once, also.”

24
May 2011

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Minagawa Sachi

Volunteer interview – Minagawa Sachi

“There are many people gathering here from all over Japan and even overseas to take action together. And of course we are working together with the local people for recovery. Looking at this happening, it is amazing to see what we can achieve together. Although the lives of the town and people will never go back to as it was, the community is working hard to create a new life together. I really hope that I can continue to contribute in some way to this.”

20
May 2011

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Providing hot meals

Interview with Relief Project Coordinator – “Two Months Later”

Peace Boat staff member Ueshima Yasuhiro (29) has been acting as coordinator for the approximately 2000 volunteers that Peace Bot has dispatched to Ishinomaki over these past two months. He’s been stationed in Ishinomaki since just after the quake and has stayed put for the duration. How have the last 2 months been through his eyes? How will the needs and requirements of the volunteers change over the coming weeks and months?

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May 2011

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Owner Sakuma Ikuko

Interview with tsunami survivor, Ms Sakuma Ikuko

“I was one of the lucky ones to have not been killed. I owe a lot, and I cannot ever take my life for granted now,” restaurant owner Sakuma Ikuko says.
“I really appreciate the work being carried out by Peace Boat, and I want them to know that. So that’s why we are letting the volunteers stay in our main dining hall. I have nightmares about the tsunami every night. I get swallowed up by the waves and the moment that I think I’m going to die, I wake up. When I do wake up, all I see out of the window are the endless mountains of debris. A darkness was beginning to consume me and I didn’t think I could make it through… but then, I saw the young Peace Boat volunteers, with their boundless energy, partaking in sludge and debris removal. They gave me courage and the drive not to give up. That is what Peace Boat gave me.”

18
May 2011

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International Volunteers

Over 180 non-Japanese volunteers, or ‘International Volunteers,’ have joined Peace Boat’s relief activities. As a rural town, Ishinomaki does not see many non-Japanese visitors, so the presence of International Volunteers is a source of fascination and encouragement for the locals. As many helping hands as possible is needed in Ishinomaki, and it is important to include non-Japanese in these efforts – both people resident in Japan and from elsewhere. Domestic news coverage of the destruction is on the wane. The presence of the international community still continues to be needed in Japan so that the devastation may not be forgotten, and efforts to rebuild can be continued together.

17
May 2011

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Peace Boat Volunteer Torii Kenta

Volunteer interview – Torii Kenta

Torii Kenta joined the Peace Boat group dispatched to Ishinomaki on April 8. He initially stayed for 3 weeks and found that the area around Ishinomaki train station showed a marked improvement over that time. His faith in volunteerism and the relevance of working there was reaffirmed. He deduces that the factors contributing to this are the increasing number of volunteers and also the fact that many volunteers are staying for longer periods and gaining mastery over the content of their tasks. The whole effort is speeding up and increasing in scope. “I thought the power of human strength is not be laughed at,” he says optimistically.

12
May 2011

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Volunteer information sessions and orientations in Kobe, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Osaka

Volunteer information sessions and orientations in Kobe, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Osaka

The situation in the affected areas remains extremely serious. In Ishinomaki alone, there is a need of provision of 20,000 meals each day, and even at the current rate it will take two years to fully clear the homes of mud brought by the tsunami. Peace Boat will therefore be holding information sessions to call for disaster relief volunteers not only in Tokyo but nationwide throughout Japan. See this post for details.

12
May 2011

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Mr Kitamura

One day as a volunteer – relief goods storage

Peace Boat stores all donated relief goods at the indoor baseball training hall on the Ishinomaki Senshu University campus. Relief goods include food, sanitary goods, household items for everyday use as well as equipment required for sludge and debris removal. Volunteers working at the storage area keep tabs on all items incoming and outgoing. They are also responsible for keeping items stored and separated according to category.

“Sometimes you will find letters addressed to the survivors of the quake in boxes of donated relief goods. Whomever sent the items express their solidarity with the survivors…really, it made me well up with tears when I came across that letter.” says a storage area volunteer.

11
May 2011

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One day as a volunteer – deliveries

The distribution of hot meals by Peace Boat is carried out in coordination with a number of other organizations conducting the same service. Meetings are held between the groups to determine how many meals need to be distributed to which area.
The ‘delivery team’ is then responsible for the safe distribution of the prepared food.

On the day of this post, 1000 meals prepared by the Kitchen team were to be distributed throughout 8 areas in the region, along with other relief goods.

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