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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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03.28.11         michael's insights  

2 Weeks In


Had a pretty big earthquake this morning and started hearing the Tsunami warnings- not a comforting thought when you are literally driving through the remains of towns wiped out in the last one. Thankfully it turned out to be pretty small and nothing really happened.

Spent most of the day riding up the coast with Makato. We made it all the way up to Otsuchi and Yamada, 2 places we heard that aid was slow to arrive. It was a 3.5 hour drive each way from base camp in Minamisanriku.

Most of the leads Toby sent us were doing pretty good, however, one place in particular that was caring for 773 people was hurting. Their three main leaders were dirty and wearing clothing that had holes in them, a sure sign they were struggling. When the site leader is dressed nicely and asks for very specific, non-essential type items, they are doing good.

One of the leaders had returned from looking through the rubble, he had two purses full of belongings. Kind of a weird thought to think that there were 2 women no longer with those purses. Humbling.

I think they didn't really know what to make of us, or they were nervous but they made some requests for clothing, underwear, boots and 800 hygiene kits.

My thought is when we deliver these items they will request more things they need. It's very important to do what you say in order to establish trust with those in need.

Kind of an interesting thought there, the desire and even ability to serve are not enough- you have to be trustworthy to gain more of these opportunities. You have to be a playmaker and come through with what you say you will do, otherwise you are just talk.

I know Nathan and the rest of the team worked on getting food and clothing for the four sites we found yesterday. I'm pretty sure these deliveries will happen tomorrow.

Mark's show aired tonight and I was so sorry I missed it. Can't wait to watch it when I get back.

Hard to imagine I've already been here for 2 weeks. Everything that has led up to what we are doing now has taken a toll on me stress wise, and I am starting to feel the fatigue. While Im eating better and don't have the illnesses to deal with that I did in Haiti, I know that 3 weeks was my limit there before I finally "broke" so to speak. I want to help as much as possible here, but only as long as I feel I am making a meaningful contribution. I have gained so much from this experience, great new friends and opportunities. So glad I came.

Japan will be rebuilding for years, but I think they are one of the most organized and prepared countries to do so.

It was another great day- looking forward to what tomorrow brings.



Ramen dinner at Ofunato

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