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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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04.14.11         michael's insights  

Gambare Japan (Let's Do it Together Japan!) - Meysen Aid Team


This is the video we have been putting together for the last few days. I hope you enjoy it.



There are many notes to consider about this video:

The original idea behind it was to simply show some of our supporters what was being done with the money they generously gave. It is very important to be as transparent as possible when it comes to aid donations and we wanted to be accountable to these people. It was shot on a day we were waiting for a resupply delivery from Sendai, and while it looks really great, all we used was a tripod and 2 Canon Cameras. Once we got back to Sendai, we decided it would be worth outlining the context of what was going on with the supply chain issues we were seeing, as well as adding more information about other types of aid we did. We were fortunate enough to have many photographers visit while we were working, and most of this footage was added after we decided to make the video.

The video of the man in the rubble was interesting because we had already made a delivery and was accomidating us to recreate the scene. He showed us his home and we decided to ask him on camera what his needs were "for real", so the tears you are seeing are genuine. His single answer was "transportation" and Tomio politely told him that would not be possible for us to provide. When we told Nathan about it, he got on his phone and tracked a truck down for him in about 5 minutes, but it was in Southern Japan, so it took a day to drive up.

Probably the biggest problem with this video, is that we have to keep it under 10 minutes to be on Youtube, as well as keep it relatively short. I would imagine there are more little clips and videos to come but the worst part about it was that there are many, many people who contributed time, money, effort, resources to make all of this happen. It was a phenomenal team effort. The two brothers you see at about 7:07 minutes in, Samuel and Thomas were so incredibly huge in what they did it cannot even be explained in words- they deserve a lot of credit for their tireless effort.

The Meysen and Grape City Staff sent countless volunteers to help when they could. It made an enormous difference to have them with us. I know there were a lot of support people here packing clothes, food and other supplies for us. Kiyoko and the honeybees always made sure I had more than enough to eat during my stay here. They have taken very well care of me. There are countless other people who donated or in some way helped and we are extremely grateful to each and every one of you for what you have done.

I personally want to thank the Meysen Crew for taking me in and letting me help- it was the opportunity of a lifetime. I will never forget it. I love you guys! I also want to give a huge thank you to Toby Roybal who once again acted as my information operator working out of Atlanta. I have never met the guy but he was a critical part of what we did and it would have been impossible without him. Huge thank you to Nate Farnsworth for coming out for 2 weeks- it was awesome and we loved having you. A huge thank you to Jennifer Talley who donated Nate's ticket, as well as tracked down much needed radiation prevention tools. Thank you to my Uncle Jay, Uncle Tony and Aunt Hazel for all of their input and support when I really, really needed it. There are at least 2 dozen more of you who have contributed to me in some huge way- many of you have already sent me donations and I greatly appreciated it.

I imagine there will be more notes added here shortly. Its late here in Japan as I type alone in Grape CIty Studios (an awesome, awesome place!). I am very sad to be leaving my new friends, however I am so very, very grateful and happy to have met them as well as to have had this opportunity. Something tells me I will see them again soon.

Flight leaves from Sendai tomorrow around 3:30pm, I should arrive in Maui at 4pm local time Friday.

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