Request for More Sandbags

September 5, 2012

Request for more seaweed sandbags

2012 08 21BaBaText

On Aug 21 we drove 2 hours north of Sendai to the Babanakayama district of Minamisanriku town in order to confirm that the seaweed cultivating fishermen of the town still needed seaweed sandbags. Chiba-san, at the right in the pic, is the leader of the Babanakayama support center. On our last visit in July, he had set up his "office" in a shed. This time he showed us the evacuation center that the district built shortly after the tsunami in March 2011 and is no longer used for evacuation purposes. This is now where he discusses possible tsunami recovery projects with volunteers like ourselves. The evacuation center can sleep 12-15 people.

He had done his research regarding whether and how many sandbags the seaweed fishermen of Babanakayama needed. As a result, we were invited to sew about 500 seaweed sandbags. We gladly agreed to do so and plan to deliver the sandbags personally to the fishermen of Babanakayama in early October. We have already sewn about 500 sandbags for distribution elsewhere in Minamisanriku. We have made plans to return to Tokyo Musashino Chapel Center from Sep 18-22 in order to complete sewing this next batch of 500 seaweed sandbags.

Kanai-san, at the left in the pic, offers hospitality to volunteers at the evacuation center who come to the district to help with various projects. Her dream is to set up her own coffee shop in Babanakayama. She also would like to see a safe playground built (rebuilt?) for children. Chiba-san agreed there is such a need in the district. Caring for children who live in evacuation centers or in devastated towns is a recurring theme wherever we go. Recovery programs and community buildings seem to focus on adults, leaving the children to play in the streets or confined to their small homes and apartments.

Is it possible the Lord is opening a door for us to build a playground in Babanakayama? If so, how will we link that project to a church ministry in the area so that the project will have long term potential for reaching the area with the gospel? There has never been a church in Minamisanriku, but there are now plans to get one or two started. (dale little)