A work report from Emmaus Ishinomaki Support Center. 9/20/2012
We went to Iwaida Section of Ishinomaki, where we went to work very often. We went to the vacant by the shore to pull weeds. ‘ A’ used to have his house there and did a fishery related business. Now it is a storage place for ropes, pipes etc. The place is covered with weeds and too much work for him to keep the lot free of weeds and could not find helpers to do the work. Therefore, we were asked to assist him to clean up the place. The lot was about 100 tsubo or 3600 square feet. Six volunteers took about one day to finish the job.
We worked for A previously, but this was the first time he told us of his experience through the tsunami.
The house was right by the sea, and on that occasion he looked out toward the sea. He saw the sky very dark indicating the tsunami is coming. So, he run up the mountain by his backyard and clung to a tree. His house was saved from tsunami, but by mistake, subsequently demolished, and taken away. He was hoping to maintain his house to give to his grand child, but now the house and its contents are gone. He regrets that all mementoes in the house are gone. I felt his agony over the sudden lose of his house and mementoes.
Even a year and half after the disaster, there are many survivors like A, shouldering unsolved problems and unresolved feelings. I wish to listen in depth the story of each survivor one by one.
I came from out side the prefecture and did not experience directly the earthquake and tsunami, and could only retell the stories I heard. However, I think it is a duty of the staff members to retell the stories to volunteers that would come subsequently.
A member of the Ishinomaki staff
During the period Sasakko club was held, a high schooler from Sasayashiki helped us. Having a local Oni-chan (older brother in Japanese) play together may have meant much for the children and even parents here, I believe. Moreover, I cannot fathom how many hearts were touched by seeing him volunteering with the heart for his hometown, Sasayashiki. I felt like I saw the future of this town. Going to help the local youth organization’s activity, to sport meeting of local schools – the moments I spent with him was deeply carved into my heart as precious memories.
Such encounter could not be attained on my own. Rather, this opportunity was brought by the accumulation of sincere, heartfelt works by many others from the past. For their sincere hearts were woven together, I was able to experience such profound encounter.
There is a limit in what one can do. However, there is surely something that only one can produce as “an individual.”
The small efforts made by an individual will connect a heart of another and undoubtedly leave an invisible but certain proof. Sincere heart creates trust, and trust leads to affection. As one’s heart is woven with another’s, the bond or the love will be developed even more firmly.
What we value is “slow work.” At Sasayashiki, I understood and experienced its profound nature through the days and days of work with the locals and my fellows.
Because it is slow, each step is made firmly and surely.
Because it is slow, one can look at another’s heart and pour his or her heart upon it.
Because it is slow, one can taste the joy of the moment when connection between his or her heart with another is made.
If we looked for the efficiency alone, we may have overlooked such richness which would have attained therein.
On September 22nd, I have finished my role as a staff at disaster relief center. Probably it is more appropriate to say “temporarily finished.” Even my body is not present, my memories, affection toward them, and connections with them never end.
I cannot give enough thanks for this rich experience, which would not have attained on my own, and for those who have been involved.
I will be back again to this home of my heart to humbly pass a baton of heart.
With my sincerely appreciation.
The article written by
Takayuki Yamada, an alumnus of Sendai Staff
It seems like the weather is telling us the sudden visit of autumn with the cold air in the morning and evening.
There is a volunteer worker, who has just finished her 3 days of work here, said the below as she left Emmaus;
“I was useless.”
There is no need to be useful.
The Kanji for usefulness writes as this – “役,” yaku
The letter can be split in to two parts – “彳” and “殳.”
“彳” means walking step by step.
“殳” stands for assault, violence, strike.
“役” may imply “being assaulted, being shackled,” but maybe this is my contortion of the word’s meaning to some extent.
You do not have to be useful.
Simply your presence is just good enough.
Everyone gathers, and this very moment is simply bliss, rather than having someone useful.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” – Psalms 133:1 (NKJV)
The article written by
Translated by Kenichi Tanaka