This is an archived copy of Asians helping TOHOKU #2, reprinted through the courtesy of Asian Community Center 21 (ACC21) . Current condition is different so please find the latest information in other articles.
ACC21 is dispatching Asian students studying in Japan to volunteer in Tohoku in order to create a form of support linking the victims with Asian peoples.
From July 29th to July 31st, 6 Asian students from the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia joined the second Dispatch of Volunteers to Tohoku.
Below is a report from Ms. Gan Siau Sian, one of the members of the second dispatch.
Volunteer Report by Gan Siau Sien (Malaysia)
We arrived at Sendai at about 6am (30th) to take another bus to the Tome Prefecture Hall.We missed the 6.30am bus because we had no idea where to go. Shimizu san tried her very best to find the exact bus stop and then we were able to take the 7.10am bus to our desired destination.
We had our breakfast in the bus and took a rest before arriving in Tome City.The weather was so bad on that day but the greenery views along the way captured my attention. I was thinking ‘what a pity that such a beautiful place was struck by a disaster!’
However we can’t turn back time and must accept it. What we can do now is just try to contribute or help within our ability as much as possible.
We arrived at the RQ ‘s HQ at about 10am. After registeration, we fully equiped ourselves with helmets, long jackets, goggles, gloves, boots and masks before traveling to the affected area. We were assigned to the Koizumi team. It was a new experience for me to have to wear this kind of attire and I looked a bit like a fire fighter or a constrution worker. Very interesting.
We met the other volunteers at the site. The rain was getting heavier, and therefore we were hiding in the shuttle and took pictures for memories. We started the cleaning operation by segregating those washed away by the Tsunami. We segregated them into 5 major categories – plastics, wooded, clothes, glass, and metal for recycle purposes. Even though the weather was so bad, it couldn’t stop our determination to clean up the affected site. When the raining got heavier, the team leader decided to stop the operation for safety reasons. The operation ended around 2pm.
We washed and cleaned our attires and equipment. We had to take care of our hygiene and be self-disciplined. After a hard day, we enjoyed a good meal and had a good time with the others.
It was a good experience to sleep in the sleeping bag and in the school gymnasium with so many people . At about 4am we were awakened by a magnitude 4 earthquake. It was scary but luckily nothing happened.
I can’t believe what I saw! The power of nature is so scary and cruel. Miyagi prefecturea place that is full of greenery and is a good spot to visit for sightseeing and yet, an unpredicted and unwelcome disaster visited them. It’s time to say goodbye and it’s doesn’t mean the end, but it’s a new beginning of our friendships.
It’s not the end of the day for Tohoku and Japan, but it’s a brand new start. Hand in hand, Japan can overcome any difficulties and make a difference! Don’t give up hope, the sun will rise again.
We’re all with you!