We have had limited access to the internet, so my post will be from several days ago and contain a few days of notes... hope you read this in good health and know that your prayers and well wishes are felt all the way over here in Japan...
The damage here is unbelievable. We are being guided through the rubble by a friend of a friend… He has been explaining the devastation. Fires, Floods, and the sweep of the tsunami that wiped structures across the entire city. The sight is heavy… cars destroyed, upside down, inside out and even on rooftops (the few left) The entire town smells like death --(fish we say to ourselves)… Our guide brings us to reality, "We are still finding bodies… I found parts the other day." He explains that deep in the rubble are many more but they lack the resources to dig them out quickly enough. It's evident all that is being done is all that can be done. I thought I've had life changing experiences… but I was wrong. Even this moment isn't a life changing experience… It has creating life within us.
We had a visit to a shelter today. The conditions are good… very clean. The people are hopeful and happy… eager to talk to a stranger and tell them their stories. Everyone is separated by cardboard walls. Cardboard also lines the entire floor, about the size of a gymnasium. Everyone was friendly… Many explained that they lost every material thing they owned and all they have now is what has been given through charity. They were very appreciative of the banner. The volunteer staff hung it building-length for all to see.
We met many fisherman who had been to California and Canada, fishing for tuna. They were happy to see an American and asked to shake my hand… "please take this handshake with you…" many would say. "I'm happy to do that…" I'd reply. So many follow the law of giving and receiving and wouldn't let us leave until we consumed some of their precious rations, which we did with joy and gratitude.
A friend of ours working with "Genki for Japan" made the trip with us and we helped hand out tote bags, hand made with a message of love inside from the maker. The appreciation was overwhelming and it was difficult to hold in tears of empathy. We passed out and spoke with over 200 people, mostly older in their 70's and 80's but a few young children followed us around.
Tom did a great job, taking a microphone and addressing the entire shelter. I'm not sure what he said, but he made them laugh and smile… Some said they hadn't done either in months.
We are now heading to a volunteer post to say hello, deliver another banner and ask how their efforts are going. Just curious. After, we are heading to one more town and shelter to repeat…
It never seemed like a waste of time that we put our music and tour on hold to work on this charity and help other charities… but after talking to people and seeing them happy… the idea is confirmed. Love is the answer, ne?!