The second round of volunteers is currently up in Yamada continuing the work we started earlier in the week and it seems they might be having problems with some of the locals. Toby was attacked by two huge crows and the shrine team were told that bear tracks had been found on the beach in front of their site! On the plus side, local volunteer Shigeru made breakfast for the team yesterday, cooking up a soup from wild vegetables he’d gathered from the woods behind the base.
While the satellite team busies themselves helping a shaman and his family recover after the tsunami, here in Sakari we are concentrating on a massive project that aims to impact the whole community. A huge team sets out every day, continuing to clear drainage ditches to prevent flooding. They are scooping debris out of canals at a rate of three blocks a day! Not an easy task today when volunteers will not only be shin-deep in water all day but soaked from above, as it appears from the forecast for this week that rainy season is here already.
These two very different projects show the huge scope of the value of volunteers in a disaster response environment. Not only can we work with individual members of the community to help them get back on their feet and into their homes and businesses, but we can also tackle municipal scale tasks that benefit everyone. It might be the Age of the Machine but people here are definitely proving that there’s still a place for some good old-fashioned grunt work.