Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Little Houses Update...& report from Joni


We have 80 little houses to date but I know there are still a few more on their way. Saturday, I set Ebi-kun to work and we packed up all the houses we have so far. Vicky sent us 101 bars of chocolate (one for Ebi-kun) and Kathryn send 100 eco-bags.


All the houses are super cute and so different, we had them for all over the world, Korea, Singapore, USA, UK, Canada, Slovenia, Turkey, Spain, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India to name just a few and from kids that had made them too. I took a photo of each house, I was trying to think of how to use the photos to raise more money, maybe a poster or something then the money raised can be used to buy specific items that Joni knows are needed. Any suggestions would be appreciated!


Once the hoses and chocolate were bagged I packed them up in boxes, the first had 40 bags in and the second 25, I think! I will hold onto the rest of the houses until the others arrive. So, if you thought you missed out you still have time, I will be needing another 17 to make it to the 100 mark. All the info is here.


Joni sent an update about the work she has been doing, you can read about it below. When I first came up with the little house idea I was thinking of the people in the temp housing but from Joni's report it sounds like those in Otomo-cho have a greater need. I told Joni that since she knows the situation best then she should decide where the little houses go. So, a big thank you to everyone who got involved, you are great! and now over to Joni, this is quite long so you might need to put the kettle on but it will give you an insight to what is going on up there right now.




Leading up to the trip I spent a few days surrounded by stacks and stacks of boxes that had been donated and delivered sent from all over Japan, the U.S. and Australia too. Many, many things were already delivered to the people in the temp housing with our high-tec method of transporting things, but with each box I kept out some of the items for the people on the coast. Many of the things were from foreign wives of Japanese husbands, and others were from churches in Hokkaido as well as friends from the U.S. and individuals in other areas.

boxes filling the genkan
 I spent days sorting clothing and other things into large bags, some specifically for certain households and then other bags with things like Size M sweaters, and another bag with women's coats etc.I also made small care packages of other things for each home with some food items, pretty things, socks, hats and scarves, and other items in them. Our house looks rather crazy, (this is a huge understatement!) I know how much this means to these people and so that is what kept me going!!! 


We pray as we are resorting things that the things get into the hands of those that need them most. The people in Otomo-cho, have not received help even from the beginning.When people were in evac centers and they had clothing and food distribution, these people who were staying with friends and relatives went to get some things and they were turned away and told that only those in the evac centers could get things. That is when I started collecting clothing and asking churches and individuals for help in meeting these peoples needs. At that time, I was also delivering water, food, diapers from our home, and from gifts sent from friends and family in the U.S. as well as the Baptist church in Hokkaido, and Samaritan's Purse.
Once the temp housing units were built in that area, once again these people went and were once again turned away and told that the aid goods were only for people in the temp housing. It is so sad. They watch as others are getting things, and they cannot. 

Well, on the way to the coast we picked up a gentleman, Louis Templado,who is a reporter for Asahi Shinbun (Newspaper) in Tokyo. It had snowed for the last few days and though normally the coast doesn't get much snow, there was a thick coating of snow there too, making it look like a winter wonderland. It was almost hard to imagine that a tsunami had swept though that area. It looked so peaceful and beautiful. 

We made the rounds to the homes where people have rebuilt the first floors of their homes which had been filled with water and debrisfrom the tsunami, and delivered items that many, many people have so generously donated. Some were winter clothing, coats, blankets, as well as some other things such a flower vases and pretty items along with yarn and knitting needles. Many of the ladies had much fun choosing yarn, clothing and other things and it brought smiles to their faces. The needed items were appreciated and the extra things were very much appreciated too. 

One man said that they really don't need anything more, they have enough to survive, but that it was just wonderful to have someone to talk to. He said that all their neighbors homes were washed away and so it is just he and his family and that he is starved for people to talk to. His wife and daughter really love getting new things and both chose coats and sweaters and other things, and I had to smile at the difference in what the man was saying and what his family was doing. Perhaps it is a man/woman thing that men are happy to wear the same clothing over and over, but women really enjoy getting pretty clothes that fit and that they can wear different things. 


Joni's girls and the high tech delivery system!
One woman, as soon as she sees me, calls her neighbors and they come running...but that day I blocked the telephone with my body and asked her to wait just a few minutes to call. She kept on saying she needed to call them immediately, but I once again asked her to wait and I pulled out a new camera that was sent by a lovely lady from Australia. I told her that I only had received a few cameras and so I had to choose who got them, and that I had decided on familes with children. She has 3 grandchildren living with her, two small boys and a 2 yr old granddaughter. (As well as her daughter and a grandmother and grandfather) She started to cry. She just couldn't believe that people were so kind and caring. 

When I say that these people are deeply moved by the generosity and caring of those who have sent things, it is an understatement. The people in this village are typical humble Japanese and they worry about taking too much in case someone else doesn't get anything. They know they have no way of returning the gift, which is the Japanese custom, so it was very hard for them at first to accept gifts. 

Our car was packed to the brim on the way there and on the way home it was empty. Everything had been chosen and had a new home.We had lunch at IL home and then made a quick visit to the temp housing units near our home. The ladies who have formed a sewing club were meeting that day so we went to see them as well as took a few minutes to show Mr. Templado the inside of one of the temp housing units where people lived. He was quite surprised at how rural this area is and that there are no stores or anything nearby. 

It was wonderful to be able to share so many lovely things with these people on the coast, and to see their faces light up at getting much needed items and items that were just nice to have as well, as well as seeing us again. It makes me happy and yet sad too. Happy that we can be part of helping them,but sad that they haven't gotten any other help and that they still feel forgotten. We pretty much have to go house to house to deliver things there, and they are spread out so we have to drive between homes on newly built roads made after the clean-up of the tsunami debris. There are still rather primitive roads and pretty rough, but at least now they are somewhat connected again. Crossing back and forth across the path that the tsunami took. For me it is always a bit unsettling as I remember well what it used to look like right after the tsunami, rubble piled high, no roads crossing from one side of the tsunami path to the other, but if there was another one while there, I think these people who have experienced where to flee and what to do would be the best people to be around! 
There would be nothing now stopping a large wave, let alone a tsunami if it were to occur. The tsunami barriers were like a curb to these waves, and most have been washed away, and the path has been made. 


I just wanted to thank-you so much for helping us to help them. We are able to help them through the generosity of so many who have been so giving and kind. I don't know quite how to put into words just how thankful I am for all of you who have shared things for these people. I know that it took a lot of time and effort, as well as money in order to send things.I know that all are busy with your own lives and families and busy schedules. On top of all your own responsibilities, you made the time to help from afar. Thank-you. 

Happy lady with her new seeds.

I would have loved to thank each of you personally,but didn't have many of the email addresses. Some of you contacted me via email, and I was able to respond, if (gasp) you wrote and I did not respond, please try again, it was totally unintentional and I really meant to reply to each and every one of you who emailed. If you sent things, and didn't email me, and would like some more infomation, I most likely remember what you sent since I went through each and every single thing and put it in different bags, boxes etc to deliver. 

I can give you more info if you email me, and I will try very hard to respond promptly. You have my permission to pester me until I answer!!! I also have a few pictures taken on my cellphone (my camera is broken) that I could forward to you if you like. We, as a family, have been so blessed as we have been trying to help these people in a little way.Thank-you for making it possible to help these people. The love and care you all have shown by your actions in helping so generously speaks so very loudly of who you are! God bless you and thank-you so much for your prayers for our family and these people!

 Joni

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry I didn't have time to make a house, I wanted to but I am just swamped the last month teaching art at school. I was thinking maybe you could use your pictures to make sets of post cards or note cards with some online printing service, with a note at the bottom saying they are in support of survivors of the Tohoku earthquakes, that the houses represent hope that they will be able to rebuild their lives.

    ReplyDelete

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