First of all the principle behind 'hitting the ground running' is that you are unencumbered and good to go literally from the moment you cross the starting line. Having sent all received non-perishable donations via post that left my personal weight allowance free for things that had to get there in more of a hurry. Flea/tick preventatives, food and veterinary supplies which were being sucked up by the vacuum of need were going with me personally to feed the black hole this awful disaster has created. I carted a very manageable 20kilos of donations and thankfully didn't overly upset any sensitive Skymark airlines counter staff at the airport by being excessively weighed down.Sure don't they have enough to deal with?
Any way, 12 hours after locking my university office door I was standing at the door of my Golden week home. A house in the suburbs of Sendai which has become the staging area for volunteer operations. A somewhat central point between the Niigata receiving shelter and the affected areas. I use the word "somewhat" because while the journey from the East coast to Sendai remains constant at 4 hours the affected areas range from 2 hours to 10 hours drive away from the house. The scale of this disaster is unprecedented. The coastal area affected by the tsunami is much longer than the length of my own country, Ireland.
This time my application to volunteer was accepted by an American volunteer group, Kinship Circle, who have international disaster experience. Read Hurricane Katrina, Earthquake in Chile, Landslides in Brazil. They are there for four-legged victims of disasters. I wanted to be there too! their disaster experience and JEARS' Japan experience promised to make an absolutely formidable force for the animals and pet owners affected. I was looking forward to being part of the bigger picture....... so was the youngest cat when I got back home!