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Project Tohoku, volunteers

Back to Basics?

When I described the plan for the satellite project I made sure that people knew what they were letting themselves in for. Life on project doesn’t hold many luxuries and going on satellite pretty much means giving up even those. There would be no bathroom to speak of, accommodation in tents, pot noodle for dinner and no electricity for ipods or laptops.

As I have seen time and again, volunteers can-do-spirit came to the fore as Norm and Craig took the time to rig up a tarped in solar shower and everyone did their share of collecting wood for the nightly campfire. When you have less you appreciate things more readily and thanks to generous donations of Ryo, Jenn and Andrew we ate bacon and eggs two days in a row, kindly rustled up by Norm.

Sometimes when volunteer numbers grow its difficult to build and maintain a close relationship with everyone. It can get stressful sharing your personal space with 60 people. It is hard to think of a kind gesture that can be appreciated by all on a volunteers’ budget. Satellite strips a lot of those stresses away and reminds you why you came. It enables you to treat your fellow volunteers and reward them for working so hard alongside you all the time. I may be a wee bit overdue for my mental health break I have come back refreshed and stress-free – although I am already missing having a tent to myself instead of sleeping 20 to a room!


About Jess UK

Fell in love with the crazy, inspiring, all-or-nothing world of disaster response and the wonderfully ridiculous, hard-working people who are drawn to it. Currently working in the Philippines as part of the recovery efforts after Typhoon Washi/Sendong! Want to know more? Check out disasterchasers.wordpress.com.


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