Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ofunato & All Hands

Until recently I assumed that unless I tell someone {outside our little milspouse community} about my blog, they don't know it exists.  I found out I am mistaken.  Apparently when you mention a NGO on your blog, they notice.  Last week I returned to Ofunato to do some more work and my first day back my favorite volunteer coordinator {love you Toby!} mentioned my blog.  My jaw dropped and I believe my response was "how the %&*$ do you know about that?!?!?"  Sometimes I forget that people can find my blog by a simple Google search.  I promised my friend a write up, with words this time, so here it goes.

Here I talked about my trip up last time and I posted a bunch of photos here but I didn't really talk about my experience with All Hands.  I will admit, I was a bit nervous on my way up the first time.  Going into unknown situations does that to me {and the all the complications on the way up didn't help} but all those feelings were wiped away once I arrived.  The staff were wonderful.  I had a quick "orientation" then dumped my stuff and was put to work {I arrived in the middle of the day and they gave me the option to hang out or work the rest of the day}.  The normal arrangement is to work all day then come back to base for dinner {which is always homemade my some awesome Japanese ladies} and after/during dinner, they have a meeting to introduce new volunteers, discuss the work that was done that day and the work to be done the next day and leaving volunteers have an opportunity to say goodbye.   At the end of the meeting, they ask for 4 volunteers to do dinner dishes.  Those 4 people have 1st choice of work for the next day.  After they sign up, it's a free for all to sign up for the next days work on the board.  Somehow, over 11 nights, I have managed to only be a part of the mad rush once!

This was the board last week

This was the board around the last time I was there

Our numbers dwindled and they've gotten even smaller since I left last week!
{the project is coming to an end}

So on a typical day buses leave base no later than 0815.  Depending on how far way the work site is, you work from 0900ish-1200 then break for an hour lunch.  We eat bentos everyday, which is a very typical Japanese lunch.  Then we work from 1300-1600ish before heading back to base.  The work week goes from Wednesday-Monday with Tuesdays off, that way if people want to come volunteer on the weekends when they are off from their regular job, they can.

So, that's basically how it all works.  Obviously my experience didn't suck or I wouldn't have gone up for a second time and I wouldn't be going up for the third time next week.

And here are some photos from last weeks trip

building a fence at a park


one of the best lunches ever


harvesting rice to be made into sake

some kids came to help

 which turned into a friendly mud fight

 froggy kisses =}

 the field after the rice was harvested

the house we gutted

I'm responsible for about 90% of this mess =}

I leave one week from today to go back up for a third week and I cannot wait!