A few days after the disaster Daimon Yoshida left Tokyo to help in Kesennuma in the North-East of Japan. Here is his personal account.
I was in Kesennuma for several days. My hat is off to the Volunteer Ministers who are staying in a disaster zone for long periods of time.
I was shocked to see how widely the devastation spread. The coastline was completely destroyed. I had a map of the city with me, but it was practically useless—where the map indicated a petrol station, there was nothing there. I asked a local pedestrian where some place was and I was told, “You go past the place which appears to have been a noodle restaurant and you will find something that looks like it was a post office and you turn the left on that corner…” In other words, the place was utterly wrecked.
I drove there in a little truck loaded with lots of supplies. I was quite nervous because I didn’t quite know if the road was safe or whether it had a huge hole in it or wreckage that would prevent my driving. I arrived in Kesennuma and drove around to houses in the disaster zone. There were people living in these houses, although lifelines had been cut.
People had different needs. Some wanted bottles of water. Some wanted tins of food, toilet paper or diapers. I had many different supplies with me and it helped.
I drove the truck to look for people who needed help. I found an elderly woman walking around looking down. I asked, “Do you need anything?” and helped her with what she needed. An old man was sitting aimlessly next to a completely wrecked house. “What happened old man?” I asked, and he said, “Do you have things for this?” pointing to a radio that was hanging from his neck. I asked, “Do you want batteries?” and he nodded. So I put batteries into his radio. He had not listened to radio or TV since the earthquake. “I was scared that the tsunami might come again,” he said. “I couldn’t tell because the radio wasn’t working.” He was only 50 meters from the ocean, but despite the risk he seemed to be unable to move from the area.
Everyone was happy with our help. Some cried. We delivered supplies to some 150 people individually who wouldn’t go to shelters because others who lost their houses needed them more, or because they feared their houses might be robbed if no one lived there.
Many people asked for petrol. I didn’t have any I could spare. One person pleaded, so I got a pump and extracted five liters from my truck and gave it to him.
There was one man who followed me around while I traveled from house to house. I asked him what supplies he wanted. It turned out that he was from NHK (national media) and he had a camera with him. He asked what I was doing. I said I was a Volunteer Minister delivering supplies to the houses. He was impressed with our work.
I delivered supplies for one and a half days and for the two days afterward I delivered assists at shelters. (Assists are Scientology techniques developed by L. Ron Hubbard to relieve the emotional and spiritual effects of trauma from injury, stress or shock.) Everyone who received an assist from me was really happy. They said, “I’m relaxed now,” or “This is really good.” An 80-year-old lady was swinging her arms after her assist saying, “My stiff shoulders are fixed now!”
This is our country. I feel we have to confront that this is happening and take responsibility for this situation. I was very happy to be able to help.