We continued to distribute merchandise to another site near the coast, and to the destruction area near our “Be One” base. There is a house that is designated the ‘bento house,’ and this is where the people in the neighborhood get their dinners. Chad’s neighbor, Mrs. Katsumoto has been a tremendous help to us. Chad says he cannot thank her enough for all the support, help, and positive energy she has provided. She even invited Paul and me into her house and gave us some cold drinks and a snack.
The devastation is enormous. You can determine the height of the waves by the marks on the exterior walls of homes and businesses. Most of the buildings still standing are cement. There are some fortunate warehouse-type (sheet metal sidings) buildings that survived the waves. There is no clear logic as to how the waves moved through the streets – houses are built in nice square blocks and rows, but only the houses in one row were completely removed from their foundations. Although most of the homes are beyond repair, there are a few that withstood the waves and are still occupied.
Yesterday we met people from different areas. There’s Stan – a pastor from Nashville, his wife, and a church member. Everyone else is from different parts of Japan – Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Fukuoka. Jeff is originally from Memphis but has been living in Japan for 24 years. Dave lives in Fukuoka, having been in Japan for six years. Suganthan is originally from India and has been living in Kyoto for four or five years. He found out about Chad’s group through the Internet. There’s a lady named Nobue from Sakai City who did work in Afghanistan for four years. Except for Suganthan, Paul, and me, everyone is associated with the church.
It was gratifying to see how appreciative the people were when they received the merchandise. They were so orderly, standing in a straight line as we unloaded the truck and spread out the items so they could see what we had. They stood patiently and waited their turn, taking only what they needed. Most of the people were elderly women who needed help carrying the things back to their homes. Everyone in the group has been so positive and upbeat.