Posted by Dean Kim
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10 Days in RQ : Day-1 @ Tokyo HQ
10 Days in RQ : Day 2 – 4 @ Tokyo HQ
10 Days in RQ : Day 5 @Tome, Miyagi pref.
10 Days in RQ : Unforgettable Days @ Utatsu

 

July 27, 2011, This was the last day I could actually volunteer. Because I heard disappointing news that Dr. Harry Wright wasn’t in the Tohoku area anymore. So I could make a decision to go where I want to go. The place I wanted to go was Karakuwa, Kesennuma-shi.

 

Unexpectedly, when we decided what to do for the next day at last night’s meeting, there were too many volunteers so some people had to give up going to Karakuwa. However, no one really compromised, in the end, every volunteer decided to go there.
There were two tasks in Karakuwa: one was to help to replant oysters. Oyster beds were severly damaged by the tsumami. Another was to remove debris from the beach. Unlike in Utatsu, I couldn’t change the tasks. I had to decide on only one task for the day. Planting oysters looked very interesting but unfortunately I was sent to the other one.

 

It was raining cats and dogs. It was hard to see which direction the vehicle was heading. Not surprisingly, the driver took a wrong turn and we got lost. After a few minutes, the driver got the right directions and we could get to the rendezvous point.
It was foot of a mountain. We took equipment such as shovels and went up a narrow path. This was a very steep, zig-zag path exhausted me even before we got to the work site. About 15minutes later, we arrived at a beautiful beach called ‘Kuku Nakihama’ which has been designated as a natural landmark.

 

The surrounding environment was enhanced the beauty of the beach.

 

However, unwelcome debris was scattered across the beach, and removing those debris was our job.

One thing the most vivid I remember is that it a mere fragment of rope led us deeper with our shovels until we reach what it was attached to; it was a huge aluminum mass which was connected to several bag with full of sand. It made me think of the tremendous power and fury of the tsunami that could bury something so big that only a small piece of rope was left as evidence.

This job used up almost all if my stamina both physically and emotionally. I was so tired that I took a nap after the lunch.
However, taking a nap in the middle of the forest wasn’t a good idea. My ears could detect mosquitoes flying every 5 minutes, which prevented me from falling into a deep sleep.
The shift was finished at three because of the incoming high tide. When we got back to the Karakuwa Volunteer Center, the other team was already there. Everyone looked quite tired.

On the way to Tome, we dropped in at a public bath and relaxed for a little while. Perhaps that little break was the most expected part of the day for everyone.
This day was the last day I stayed in northeast area. What I saw, what I felt, and what I heard during this volunteer experience are some of the most precious and amazing experiences in my life. I think volunteering is the most beautiful thing a person can do.
There are many people who are so busy that they cannot make time for volunteering. If only those people could have a time for volunteering! Recovery of the Tohoku area would be much by far faster…
If you are hesitating to go volunteer, please don’t. This is a very good chance to make you proud of yourself. Tohoku needs volunteers. Tohoku needs your help I strongly recommend you to volunteer.

 

◆◆ Profile : Don Han (Dean) Kim ◆◆

 

17 years old, came from Korea three years ago and lives in Fukuoka with his family. Impressed by the presentation of his teacher who had joined RQ activity in Tohoku, he came to Nishinippori by overnight bus that took him 15 hours, with a feeling that he, too, wish to do something for the disaster-struck people.
Presently, he studies at International Course of Fukuoka Daiichi High School. Fluent in Korean, Japanese and English, he plans to study in the U.S. after the graduation.
We asked him to write a journal on his 10 day experience as an RQ volunteer to share with us.

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