7 April 2011   It was the night of the seventh of April, and I had just fallen asleep in our tent. We were camping along with hundreds of other volunteers on the lawn of a local university, which had been transformed into the headquarters for the relief efforts in Ishinomaki. Half an hour before […]

6 April 2011 On the third day, we were asked to aid Otschi-Cho, in the prefecture of Iwate. An IVUSA staff member who is very experienced in disaster relief joined me and two other students. Just like Minami-Sanriku, Otsuchi-Cho seemed to have vanished. When we arrived at Otsuchi-Cho Town Assembly Hall, there were many volunteers […]

5 April, 2011 On the second day, the IVUSA representative, a staff member, two students and I paid a visit to a town called Minami-Sanriku. There, we picked up various required supplies, like soap, shampoo and toothbrushes. We also took 20 cases of vegetable juice and cough drops, as many of the volunteers had developed […]

On the fourth of April, we had returned to Ishinomaki. There were 51 volunteers this time—28 IVUSA (International Volunteer Student Association) members and 20 students from Kokushikan University Sports Medicine Department. After we arrived, we set up a large tent to use as our head office and one for cooking. Next to them, we set […]

I spent most of Friday, April 15th, in collecting all the needed items for the disaster relief work. We bought food, work gloves, and masks to protect against infection and potential radiation. We also had to buy a cheap tent and took a few thin sleeping bags from the Tokyo ashram, as that was all […]

Day Four: 31 March 2011 Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture The final day. Again we split up into two teams: clean-up and cooking. Outside its windy, raining and so cold. The cooking team sets up our kitchen tent in front of the supermarket near the residential area where many people stay in the upstairs level of houses. […]

Day Three: 30 March 2011 Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture Today we all go to the peninsula where lots of villages were washed away by the tsunami. The area near the port has a very strong smell, like something rotten. We stop by a small shelter for about 80 refugees. We give them boxes of long sleeve […]

Day Two: 29 March 2011 Up early again. We split up into two groups. One group will work to clear rubble and help clean up damaged houses and public areas. The second group will cook food for people staying in a junior high school that has been converted into a shelter for about 900 refugees. […]

For more than 10 years, the Japanese student volunteer organization IVUSA has been sending groups of students to India to participate in Embracing the World’s housing projects for the homeless and for disaster refugees. These students participated in projects to build homes for tsunami refugees in both Kerala and Tamil Nadu after the 2004 Indian […]