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Sunday, 24 April 2011

More shelter news 4/21/11

Friday, April 22, 2011 at 12:04pm
The Iwanuma shelter was really much more encouraging. The building itself was not a school gymnasium but a whole community center/ward office type building. This means LOTS more space for people to grab a private corner. It was also so much cleaner and more efficiently run I felt. There were many more helpers and everyone seemed to be a little more cheerful. I really think cleanliness and a feeling of tidy & clean is an important healing factor for people who have spent a week soaking wet and whose minds are filled with images of mud and dirty water : '(

It was also encouraging to know that numbers of evacuees had dwindled. Starting with around 500 after the tsunami,numbers had gone down to between 100 and 200. This is because after one month some people had gotten up the courage to return to what remained of their homes and to start some kind of repair work, staying meanwhile I assume with friends or relatives. These were folk whose homes had lost whole rooms or even whole floors but some rooms and roofs and foundations intact. Needless to say the remaining families lost their whole house : (

The main event of our day was the free flea market and the 2 movies we showed. Kids show in the morning and adult show in the pm. Both were enjoyed judging from the laughter and smiles. We didn't see inside the sleeping area but we did learn that people had enough space to sleep flat at least.

While there, a team of 3 Chinese from Kobe arrived. They had driven up from the south (no trains into Sendai still) and their car was loaded with toys and boxes of white chocolate cake. It was so very lovely to see that so many people from all over the world and country are so caring and thoughtful and active in their support. The cakes were Japanese choco "baum" yummy and especially nice for elder Japanese people to get something traditional like that : ) They were distributed one each as people went in to the movie.there were so many leftover I wanted to give two or 3 each but..well that is not how things are done. Anyway, the remainder cakes will be saved for tomorrows ration I am sure.
There was a massage center set up where volunteers gave 15 minute shoulder massage to seated refugees any time they wished...and a sports room for badminton and table tennis. There was a tent outside where a team were cooking hot soba..there was a free phone...there were corners and areas where some families sat together for a bit of privacy.

And best of all the toilets and bathrooms were immaculate.

Overall a good day but prayers and thoughts still needed for these and the 1000s of other evacuees who are living out of a bag and will be doing so for quite some time.
free flea..
Volunteers set up a free massage corner.
Sweet messages of hope and encouragement from people in Sendai to the survivors in the coastal shelters.