|Backward sign pointing towards the ocean|
The place we went to is a poor village known best for whaling. It's basically going extinct - most of the people I saw there were the elderly.
Our group of 80 people were split into three groups: one group focused on clean up, another made bento (lunchboxes) for around 100 people, and the last group which I was in went to each house in the area to invite them for lunch and pass out a weekly newsletter. We also record how many people wanted lunch, and if it was too cold for them to go out, we would deliver their lunch for them.
|New tori being built|
|Picnic in front of the new tori|
Looking firsthand what that area looks like now was a really good experience. For the most part it was all cleaned up. There were only broken cups or bowls, or other small things mixed in with the dirt. What stood out was the lack of houses, when you could clearly see the plots of land that separated the homes that used to be there. That was a humbling experience - to think that in just less than a day a whole home was washed away.
|Ship stuck on a parking lot|
|Debri scattered all over parking lot|
For volunteers, they warned us to not come up randomly. There's just not much for volunteers to do. Instead, they recommend going with a huge organization that's already involved with volunteering over there (like the org. I went with). These org. usually have already developed relationships with the people in the area.
In May, my friend and I hope to go once more before I leave, so I'm hoping we can!