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Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance producer, photography instructor, tech innovator, and when needed, disaster aid specialist. Disclaimer: Michael is a participant in Bhphoto & Amazon affiliate programs that provides an advertising commission if you purchase through links on this website.


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03.24.11         michael's insights  

3/24 - Miyoto Island


From Michael:

"Made it out to Miyoto Island today- we had to catch a ride in a small fishing boat and someone had to look over the bow to make sure we didn't hit debris in the water. Debris like cars, telephone poles, trees and even entire homes that were washed into the bay. There is no doubt that many bodies are still trapped in the cars that were washed into the bay. There were several other small boats out there with friends and family of lost loved ones looking for their bodies. Absolutely heartbreaking!

We made it safe to the island and spoke with the man in charge. They have about 500 people living there and from what I can tell they were really hurting. I did not think it appropriate to take pictures. The Miyoto island leader also asked for water and propane, two things he didn't yesterday. He said they were going through about a ton of water a day, and while initially the defense forces had dropped off food and water, these deliveries were less and less frequent.

I GPS tagged the two helicopter landing pads using the military grid system, and we are still waiting to hear back from the military about the possibility of making a helicopter delivery.

Samaritans purse has a contact with them, but they are not always available for these types of deliveries. We will know for sure if this is a possibility or not tonight. If not, we will try to arrange a few loads of boat trips (if we can supply the scarce fuel for the boats) if that doesn't work, the last option would be to wait until the bridge is repaired in 3-4 days.

In the afternoon and evening, Nathan B organized a group to load up their Meysen trucks with food and supplies (and I mean REALLY load up). Nathan has designed several of these trucks to have housing accommodations, which allows the group to camp out far from Sendai for various trips.

We stopped off to make a delivery at Ishinomaki- that town is really hurting. Mud and debris are everywhere. It's like someone turned the town into a city dump overnight. Not sure if it's even possible to clean up, there is so much thick mud everywhere. So sad- makes you feel so grateful for what you have.

We pulled off the road to eat. we had kimchee with rice, and eggs with.... you guessed it! Mushrooms! There was also some soup, also filled with mushrooms but they were really long and skinny. Considering the circumstances, I just picked the mushrooms out- it was a great meal. The Meysen Group is amazing about feeding us- like every meal, even when we have our own food to eat. It's really good food too.

We are traveling up north and will camp in these vehicles for the night. Tthis will allow us to get a head start on deliveries in the morning.

Nathan and his family know the area so well, and with all of their contacts, transportation and resources, are in a powerful position to do good. I am so impressed with the Meysen group- they work tirelessly to serve their fellow man and are motivated by pure love. They are HUNGRY to serve- 24-7 and it is amazing for me to watch how this humble group of people have stepped forward in such a tremendous time of need.

I would dare to say that the Meysen groupis literally moving most of the deliveries so far to those people who have fallen through the cracks and I am very happy and honored to help them in anyway I can, either lifting boxes or GPS tagging.

On a side note, I have noticed that the more I focus on the work at hand, the more I think about helping, the more I try to serve, the less selfish I become and am more happy. Each day I become more and more thankful for the blessings I have."


Boat ride out to Miyoto Island. A man named Makoto rode out with Michael and as far as they know, they are the only outsiders that have been allowed to visit.
Riding back from the island- The guy in the front is checking for debris in the water that can damage the boat. The guy in the foreground is the dock hand who Jacob talked into helping them. He is a good guy.
Although the freeway opened today, the gas lines are still long. They are saying it should be back to normal by the weekend.
Nathan B. of the Meysen group handing Nate Farnsworth a box for a church in Ishinomaki.
Street corner in Ishinomaki.
Grabbing a quick dinner before crashing for the night. There are very cool sleeping quarters on the tops of the trucks. Nathan B designed and built them.
The Meysen group likes to give Michale new foods to try. Today was a whole container of fermented beans called Nato.
This is some of the gear Michale carries with him- a sat phone, iPhone with Mophie juice pack (he took 3) a leatherman, pocketknife and radiation detector. He also carries a notebook, charger, snacks and gloves for loading boxes and sometimes a Canon 7D with Tamron 18-270mm lens.

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