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【JPN Relief-10】 What Habitat Volunteers Bring to the Victims （Report 4）
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On the third day of volunteer activities, May 1st, the team members were divided into two team in Ofunato and Rikuzentakata city. 12 members were involved in clean-up and cleaning away debris activities.
Mr. Nishikawa Kenichiro, a member of Doshisha Habitat was in charge of cleaning the apartment belonged to Mr. Fumimaro Honma (64 years old, right picture). Kenichiro was involved in the activity of stripping wall paper alongside Fumimaro's apartment.
Fumimaro told him that he had so much to do after the tsunami, that he really didn't know how he was going to manage. Fumimaro told him that at first he wanted to just throw everything away and give up. When he was in the evacuation centere, Fumimaro heared that he could get volunteers to help him. Initially he was sceptical about what benefit volunteers could really bring, but now that he has met Habitat for Humanity volunteers and seen how hard they work, Fumimaro told him that he felt his situation had bocome less desparate.
Kenichiro worked alongside three other volunteers and Fumimaro. They cleared out a lot of mud and trash, and they managed to clean two of the four rooms in one of the apartments. Kenichiro described him very positive man, although Fumimaro faced really bitter situation. Fumimaro talked to him that he would like to tell this affected situation to many people, so Kenichiro felt this was the first step that volunteers could do for the evacuees.
Mr. Kenji Urashima (27 years old) is a science teacher at junior high school in Ofunato city who accepted Habitat volunteer team this time for his house where he lives with his parents. His parents' restaurant was destroyed completely, and a tsunami swept toward the third floor of the three-storied house with warehouse next to the restaurant. Kenji says "I am very thankful to have Habitat for Humanity and All Hands Volunteers here, helping remove debris and mud from our house. I really didn't think we would get help so quickly. This is a great gift for my parents because they would like to reopen the restaurant as soon as possible."
This time, a junior high school student, Mr. Riku (a fictitious name, left picture) who is an earthquake victim also participated in the volunteer activity, although he had not known Mr. Urashima. Riku worked with energy beyond all others.
Riku was at school when the tsunami struck. Thankfully school is on a hill. In emergencies, so he was safe. However, it is a school rule that students are not allowed to go home unitl they are collected by their parents - that night Riku was still at school at 1 am, not knowing what had happened to his family, until his mother and grandmother finally came to pick him up. Fortunately, his family was safe, and his house hardly escaped from tsunami. Since the earthquake had happened, he bagan to volunteer activities by himself. He had visited evacuation centres and given elderly people a massage, and so on.
Riku says, "I think it will be more than five years before our community is repaired. People want to come back and build houses on the land they used to have" "I really want to travel by train to visit all over Japan, but our local station and train has been destroyed so I am not sure when I will be able to do this."
A member of the first volunteer team, Ms. Yuki Tamada, a representative of Rits Habitat (Ritsumeikan University) says, "I felt his earnestness on home town from his each polite work. Honestly, I began to feel powerless in front of a heap of rubble. I could see hope for rebuilding local town in Riku's powerful activities."
Habitat proceeds reconstruction support with the people who try to recover from the earthquake by continuing to dispatch volunteers.
◆ Back Number
2011.04.30 Children Return to a Cleaned Gym
2011.04.29 Volunteers Taking Action in Tohoku
2011.04.28 First Volunteer Team Heads Out to Tohoku
2011.04.19 Toiletries Delivered to Ofunato city, Iwate
2011.04.13 Toiletries Delivered to Soma city, Fukushima
2011.04.10 Thousands Support HFH's Response in Earthquake-Hit Japan
2011.04.04 Campus Chapters Fundraise for Rebuilding Japan
2010.03.31 Donation from APP Japan
2011.03.14 Donate to Help Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Victims