One volunteer speaks of her experience on the Ishinomaki Volunteer Ministers Team and the effect it has had on her life.
It has been six months since I came to the disaster area. I have been working in the Ishinomaki team ever since.
There are always some foreign volunteers working with us, which can cause some troubles due to the differences in language and culture, particularly because I couldn’t speak English. Thanks to this team, however, I have learned to understand enough English to get by. I call it my “Disaster Overseas Education,” or “studying abroad in disaster areas.”
Many VMs of various backgrounds came to the disaster area—it was a team of unique and dynamic people.
Ironically, one thing I gained through this disaster was a better relationship with my father.
I always wanted to improve my relationship with my family, and I wanted to balance family with doing much more for society and humanity.
When the disaster struck I accomplished the second goal—I completely immersed myself in the Volunteer Minister activities. But at a certain point I realized I hadn’t spoken with my parents in quite some time.
I live in Nagano Prefecture, 240 km from my parents in Kyoto, and it sometimes happens that I don’t contact them for quite a while. So when I returned temporarily to Nagano from the disaster zone, I called my parents, only to learn that my 70-year-old father had retired in April.
I have never been able to talk casually with my father, and we rarely speak much when I call. So after talking over the phone, I wrote my parents a letter.
It had always been difficult for me to express my love to them—I even had the idea that I had hated my father but I expressed my gratitude to them—especially to my father—for working to provide for us for such a long time.
I was so surprised when I received a post card from my father in reply. I have written many letters to him—this is the first time he ever replied.
The post card was tightly filled with characters apologizing to me for having acted out of selfishness.
I was so happy to read it, I cried.
The need for help in the disaster zone continues.
Please join us in our VM activities. There is a free shuttle bus from Tokyo. You will see what a positive influence you can have on people and society.