5/1-5:陸前高田市活動-前編ー

(You can see in English after Japanese below.)

復元した用水路
復元した用水路

教団の皆様のお祈りを受け、今回再び陸前高田市に行き、ボランティア活動に参加させて頂くことができました。

実は春休みに千葉の教会の学生達で被災地の活動に行きたいと願いがあったのですが、休み中は間に合わず、学校が始まってしまったので、今回初めて学生達と共に千葉から5人+町田より門田兄も参加し、行く事ができました。

ゴールデンウイークということもあって、通常より、とても多くの人がボランティアセンターにいましたが、溢れかえって混乱するという程ではありませんでした。また、当日も沢山の方々を受け付けていました。この時期、大分渋滞があったようですが、岩手の方では道の渋滞も殆どありませんでした。

センターで瓦礫撤去を希望して登録し、行ってみると、前回依頼を受けた同じ町の区長さんからの仕事で、場所も、前回の田畑の場所の続きで、不思議なつながりを感じました。

20-30人で作業しながら、今回たまたまその区長さんに、頼まれ仕事で一緒に車で移動する際、お話を聞く機会が与えられたのですが、311日当日、区長さんは、海近くの街中にいたそうです。遠くの方から、何十メートルにさえ見える大きな山の塊のような海に追われながら、軽トラックでご自宅の方まで逃げて来たとのことでした。町の方など周りの方の親戚など多くの方がなくなったそうで、周りも本当に辛い状態だけど、こうして、ボランティアのみんなが来てくれて、顔をみると本当にほっとする、と、こらえながら話してくださいました。

前回に続き、午前中は、田畑の瓦礫撤去を行い、瓦礫に覆われた用水路などを復元し、お昼休みをとっていると、センターから連絡があり、強風の為、午後の作業は中止と通達されました。さあ、これから午後もという矢先だったので、とても残念でしたが、確かに、風が強かったので、安全確保の為に仕方ないと思い、室内で出来そうな仕事を探したのですが、午後からということもあって、みつからず、元の場所に戻ると、センターとは別に個人的に作業されている方がいたので、交じって作業するも、丁度終わりかけで即終了となりました。

それでも、その近くで自主的に片付けしていると、丁度隣の被害を受けた家の片づけをされている方が話しかけてきてくださったので、“何かお手伝いできることはありませんか?”と聞いてみると、“いや、土砂かきとか頼むのも悪いし・・・”と、おっしゃるので、“いえ、その為に来ました。是非やらしてください!”と、家の泥や瓦礫を片付けるお手伝いをさせて頂くことができました。

その日は、1-2時間で時間が終わってしまったのですが、センターに登録してないとのことで、相談して、代わりにセンターに登録し、次の日、来れたらまた来ますと約束し、その日は終了。

次の日は、センターに登録した甲斐あって、20-30人の人でみんなで、泥だしや瓦礫撤去、荷物の積み出しや、食器あらいなどをすることが出来ました。最初わずかな人数でやっていた時は、どれくらいかかるだろうと思ったいたのですが、その日の内に終わりが見えてきました。

と、さらに少し離れた隣の家でも、そこでは、さらに老夫婦が、二人で片付けしているのが見えてきました。1件目も段々終わりが見えてきたので、そちらを訪問し、事情を聞いてみると、やはり二人で、片づけをされていて、こちらはさらに敷地も広く、お二人とも年を召されていて大変そうでした。こちらのお宅も、ボランティアを依頼し、登録することをご存知ないようだったので、是非とおすすめし、電話で依頼すると、現地にセンターの方(ちなみにセンターの方々も地元大学のボランティアの人たちで、大変頑張っておられました。)がすぐ来てくださり、午後最後には、一軒目をやっていた半数の人々でこちらに来て、まず納屋の泥だしから行なうことができました。2人だけでやっていた老夫婦の方はとても喜んでくださり、その日にはとてもまだまだ終わらないため、次の日に作業を継続する約束をして、その日の作業を終えました。(後編に続く)

 

May 1st–5th:Activities in Rikuzentakata City–Part 1

   Receiving the prayers of all in COG, we could go to Rikuzentakata city and join the volunteer activities again, with young adult members from Chiba Grace Church.

Since it was the golden week (having three consecutive national holidays in a week), there were a lot more people at the volunteer center than usual. However, it was not too full that it didn’t become chaos. They were accepting a lot of volunteers this day also. During that week, there seemed to be a lot of traffic jams, but we didn’t see them that much in Iwate area.

   After registering ourselves for rubble removal at the center, we went to the place and discovered that the work was from a ward mayor in the same town, whom we received requests from last time and it was the next place to the one we worked on last time. I felt an interesting connection.

   Working with 20 to 30 people, this time, I was given an opportunity to talk with the ward mayor by chance when we moved to another place with his request. On March 11th, he was in the town near the sea. Running away from the sea wave looking like a 50 or 60 meters-high-mountain that was moving, he escaped to his house by a small truck. He said that he and the people around him had been having a really hard time since many people in the town and the relatives of those who survived died, but he felt relieved when the volunteers came and he saw their/our faces. He was trying not to cry.

   Continuing the work from last time, we removed the rubbles out of the fields and restored the drains covered by rubbles till noon. Later, when we were having a lunch break, we received a message from the volunteer center informing all the works needed to be canceled for the afternoon because of the strong wind. We were sad because we were just about to work for the afternoon also, but the wind was strong indeed, so we gave up for the safety and searched for some other works we could do inside. However, since it was already in the afternoon, we couldn’t find anything. And, even though we wend back to the place and found the one who was working by himself not with the center, he was almost done, and as soon as we joined, we finished immediately.

   Even so, we were voluntarily cleaning up near the place. And just then, someone who was helping those who lived next door and whose house had been damaged talked to us. So, we asked, “Is there anything we can help?” They said, “We feel too bad to ask you to clean the dirt or do something like that...” So, we said, “No, we are here for that. Please let us do it!” So, we could help them cleaning the dirt and removing the rubbles out of the house.

   We only worked 1 or 2 hours that day, but since they didn’t registered at the center, I talked with them, and we agreed that I would register at the center for them, and we promised we would come back the next day if it is possible. And, the day ended.

   It was worth registering at the center for them. The next day, 20 to 30 people including us could work together, cleaning the dirt, removing rubbles, moving stuff, washing the dishes, and etc. When we were working with few people at the beginning, I wondered how long it would take, but gradually, I could see the finish line during the day.

Then, we saw an elderly couple at their house little far from where we were, and they were cleaning by themselves. Since the first house was almost done, I visited them and asked how they were doing. They told me that they were actually cleaning by themselves. Because their property was larger and they were older, it sounded tough. They also didn’t know that they could request for volunteers and register. So, I recommended, and when they called and requested, people at the center (for your information, people at the center were also volunteers from the universities in the area, and they were working very hard) came to the house immediately. By the end of the afternoon, half of the people who worked on the first house came to the second house and could start clearing up the dirt out of the barn. The elderly couple who were cleaning only by themselves were very glad. There were still a lot to do to finish, so we promised that we would continue this work the next day, and we finished the day. (To be continued to Part 2).