I haven't found anything yet that is more mentally satisfying than volunteering for a cause you wholeheartedly believe in. It is so important not to take the initial nay sayers to heart especially when you are travelling alone. On day two I got an anonymous email from a reader of a site that I had posted a "donations wanted" ad.That person chose to douse my good intentions in barrage of unfounded accusations. My plan still very much in its infancy, faltered as I wondered whether or not I should proceed. It was at that crossroads I stopped to gather my thoughts. That person's assumptions were based on her/his experience of society not mine. Thankfully, my possibly naive opinion has us humans marked down as "at the core: good". As you have read I ignored the signpost that pointed to the town named Complacency.
I had the absolute pleasure of volunteering not only with people from all over Japan, but people from all over the world. I'm Irish Kate from Okinawa and the Maruko story below unfolded while working together with British Karl from Hokkaido, American Susan from Shiga and American Ron from, well, America. The volunteers are coming in on a rotation basis as everyone puts in the time they can under the JEARS.org umbrella. Some were there for 10 days, others 3 and mighty mighty Susan and Isabella from the start.There is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of support to be given. I'm not going to sit back and check this off my list yet. Watch this space!
|Some of the Rikuzentakata volunteer group with donated road trip snacks. (Ron P's photo)|