I quickly learned to carry my laptop with me so I could download photos and videos as I went.
These are the video clips from the first work day (August 3rd).
Sister Asano drove us into Ishinomaki and delineated where the tsunami destruction began. It was shocking how far inland the water had come.
The next three videos were taken when we first entered Ishinomaki. Please remember that this is nearly five months after the earthquake and tsunami took place. It is MUCH better than I expected. The Japanese are a very industrious people and didn't wait to be directed as to what to do. They jumped in and started doing for themselves and others.
We drove to this house and cleaned out the dirt under their floors.
This house was in really good shape, but you could definitely see the water lines up the walls. There was grass and sand all around the windows.
|As you can see, the masks were really hard to get used to at first.|
|The dirt taken out of the house was put in these bags and tied up. Hard to tie wearing work gloves.|
This is the neighborhood standing to the right of the house.
The house was supposed to be a two-day job. It ended up that we were done by lunch time. It was then that we moved to the apartment complex.
The owner had started to clean it. He got really sick. Then his wife got sick. Their son stopped by that first day when we were working. We heard from Brother Asano that he was very discouraged about having to take over to get the apartments rentable again, so we worked hard to make them look good for him.
This is how it started out. Our first job was the walkway.
We spent the entire first day working on that and finished it on the second day. We were originally bagging stuff up and hauling it to the empty lot next door, but found that it wasn't very effective and we were wasting far too much time hauling, so we put the bags next to the wall and waited for Brother Asano to bring his truck to take the bags and items to the lot.
These are what a few of the apartments looked like when we started in on them on Thursday.
We don't know if those who lived in the apartments got away. We assume most of them did. We found children's toys and even a passport as we cleaned.
There was a notice taped on the outside of each apartment telling the residents that they had until June to get their places cleaned up. The owners were going to fix the apartments. After that time, the owners could not be held responsible for what happened to the renters' items.
There were water lines all the way up the walls. The ceilings had water marks as well.
The person who lived in the last apartment, I would have to say, didn't survive. Nothing was gone through. It as a TERRIBLE mess. On the first day, because of the build up of dirt and other debris, I wasn't even able to get to that last apartment to take a photo. By the time we were able to access it, we found record albums from all kinds of American groups--the Eagles, etc. There were magazines and all kinds of dishes. There was a bunch of rice sitting near the front corner. It was disgusting. At first, we thought it was maggots. That freaked us out a little bit.
|Our team--me, Q, Jason, Joey, and Junya|
|How the walkway looked by the end of the first day.|