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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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04.01.11         michael's insights  

Underwear


From Michael:

Today was a wrap up of all the hard work we started this week. There were a few missing supplies requested that needed to be purchased, underwear in particular is getting harder to find. Many of the people we are meeting are wearing the same clothes they were wearing the day of the earthquake. It's also very common to see people digging up clothing from the rubble, washing it and then hanging it to dry, but clean underwear is in scarce supply, so Tomio went into town to buy as much ad he could.

We decided tagging today would not be a good idea because we didn't have enough supplies to accommodate new locations and want to deliver as soon as possible. While we were waiting for Tomio to return, Nathan and company made 2 extra delivery runs with what we had, and I did some coordinating with Samaritans Purse about incoming supplies and answered some of the many emails that had piled up in the last couple weeks (I'm close to 1000 right now).

I knew it was coming, but not going out and working helped me realized how completely wiped out I am. For some reason, I don't feel it when we are out. I asked some of the other team members if they were tired and all of them said "yes" before I could finish my sentence. We are looking forward to taking the weekend off and recovering a little.

One really cool idea the "honey bees" had was to put together these little bags of candy to hand out to children. These Japanese kids are SO adorable it is crazy. Every time we handed these out to kids we met, they flashed the biggest smiles and we realized there is a really good chance this is the first candy they have seen in 3 weeks. Their parents seem even more happy than their kids because their kids are happy-lol. This is something we have talked about doing a lot more of next week.

Once the underwear returned, we loaded up and headed out for a few last deliveries before we left camp. At our first spot, we returned to the group we found yesterday that was digging for food in the rubble and opened up the boxes of underwear. At first they were in shock and as they slowly realized that this delivery was for them they started grabbing packages as fast as they could, stuffing them into their pockets. One of the men grabbed a pair, ran behind a truck and put them on right then and there!! It was his first clean pair in 3 weeks!!

I then met up with Nathan, who decided to take any extra food we had to give to people we randomly met. We found one woman working in her yard. She was wearing a dirty purple jump suit. She described to us how she felt the earthquake, ran away, and watched the Tsunami come in and destroy her home. While she is supported to a degree by the shelter, it was clear she wasn't getting everything she needed. She was very grateful for the food. I know I have said it earlier, but this work is so rewarding when you see what these people have been through and can help in anyway you can. You forget how tired you are, get really excited and can only think about the next delivery.

From our calculations we have delivered more than 32 tons of aid and food to over 6,100 people in the last week or so. We have been learning on the run, and believe with a few little tweaks, we can do more.

We drove back down to Sendai for dinner and I enjoyed a very hot bath courtesy of the Meysen crew. It's truly amazing how good you feel after being dirty for a week, the change in strength and energy- I feel like a new man. As much as I enjoyed it, I could only imagine how much more so many people would have liked the same. They are stuck in their demise and can only live and fight their way out of it. Most do not have the means to pack up and go- they will be suffering for a while.

We have some important meetings tomorrow with Samaritans Purse. Nathan and I have been invited to meet with Franklin Graham. In any event, I am already very much looking to getting back into the action as soon as possible. For now, it's time to rest up a little and get my strength back.



If you ever have a bad day, imagine how you would feel if you came home and found your house like this.
At first they were suspicious....
...then they were happy!!
Right after this picture was taken, they guy in the black shirt ran off behind a truck to put on his new threads!
Nathan and the Honey Bees giving food to a woman who was digging in the rubble of her home- she was very happy to get it!
The same woman describing how she lost her home in the background.
Giving candy to children- the whole family loves it!
Delivering food to people we met by the road.
Dinner back in Sendai. It wasn't until I saw Samuel in this blue jump suit that I realized he really acts like Kramer from Sienfeld.
I have a lot of great pics on my Canon 7D, but no computer here. Next best way....take a pic of the monitor with my iPhone and email them to Jessica Orchard who is assisting with my Blog!
A new friend at a delivery- These are the smiles I am talking about!
I loved this woman- this was taken by Nate just as we were tagging it- delivered later that afternoon.
This little boy approached Nathan and I at Baba Nakayama and said with a lisp in Japanese "you are the first Americans I have ever seen!" kids here are so cute!

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