Saturday, May 7, 2011

Well,Well,Well! Long time no post!

I haven't been the best of a blogster have I? I know a bad workman always blames their tools but I will duly accept half the fault for having tried to convert to the cult of St. Mac while volunteering in a very challenging environment. I am starting to believe that I am genetically wired to be a Windows user  although I feel obliged to admit that the Macs have have won me over with their sleek, smooth, good looks. I never thought myself to a 'cover judger' but this 'book' won me over at first sight!!

I'm in Niigata airport ready to fly home with a head full of stories bursting to be written down. The beginning is always a great place to start so it is there I will share with you first.

Some of my own crew "pre-approving" the donations!
Collecting donations. I put the usual ads in the local classifieds and received a steady trickle of responses. I posted it as my status on Facebook and was 'liked' and commented upon by many. Then an AMAZING lady, Amanda, took my pebble-in-the-pond style requests to the public and made them into an avalanche of donations. She wholeheartedly put her back into it and I was inundated with all manner of pet items and financial donations. Now how to get all of this up to where it was needed. Two days before leaving I took a trip to the airport to check with my airline if, given the circumstances, they would allow a volunteer exceed their weight allowance to bring donated supplies to pet owners and animals in need in the Tohoku disaster area. Emmmm no! Clear cut and straightforward "No". I took the line that these particular rules were made for times and situations when normality was ...well, normal, and that the area I was heading to with these well intentioned donations was far from that status. Again, the words a person on a mission doesn't like to hear were repeated, " No you can't. The rules are the rules." Thanks Sky mark airlines for adding fuel to my fire, I was going to get them there with or without you. Would have been nicer with, but hey where there is a will there is a way, right?

Post office: Turned out to be surprisingly cheap. I was able to get several  15 -20 kg packets out with them. But had a meltdown over the last and heaviest package. The large dog crate I donated myself which I had filled with donated dog food. The one I had weighed so carefully the night before, the one that read under the 30kilo limit at home but seemed to have put on weight in the half mile between the house and the Post Office. Again the same line was used and the same reception of said line was received in return. (I really am going to have to work on my lines!!) I was so utterly disappointed about the bureaucratic inflexibilities I encountered. There was absolutely no budging the staff over the set boundaries created for 'normal circumstances'.

I wished I had my camera so I could show them their fellow country men receiving these donations the last time. To explain the story of the middle-aged woman who broke down in tears when we asked her did she have enough food for her dog. To share pictures of Ryu-chan's life in a cardboard box outside a freezing evacuation center in Iwate until our donations gave him a crate and blankets. Or if they were cat people maybe they would have been moved just a little by Fu, Mi and Shou who had lived in their owner's car for three weeks.Having these stories in my head made me more determined. That package was heading North.

Since I didn't have the time before flying as I had morning classes to teach on departure day, my wonderful better half found a courier service that was ready to oblige with the task of dispatching the crate and food. All donations were divided up between the three JEARS shelters The tangibles went to Tokushima and Shiga prefectures and the monetary donations went to offset vet bills in the Niigata shelter. 

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