Thursday 14 April

Yesterday morning I gave my first English course since 11 March. Usually we use a spare room for the classes. After losing an hour trying to find a place where we could hold the course, going from one public building to another (media center, support center, etc.), we finally had the class at the home of my student.

Most buildings are still closed for repairs.

During the afternoon, a friend tried to get me a job as a replacement teacher in a language school where he is teaching. I did not get a job but we had an interesting talk. He told me that the director of the school was quite shocked by the fact that so many foreigners had left hurriedly without even taking time to arrange their affairs, e.g. inform their employers, cut off the telephone, water, electricity, etc. I think that it’s quite a common feeling in Japan.

Today Yukiko left the apartment for the first time since our return. The tremors had really upset her and she did not dare to go out alone. Seeing people in the streets, she felt much better.

I also went back to the church to find out how the transport for Shiogama was being organised. They told me it was better to take the bus (500 yen – $6 – each way). I could not help myself from telling them quite forcefully that I was very surprised to see that volunteering was reserved for those who had the means. I was told that the association looked after the accommodation but not the transport. Apart from the fact that I was disappointed not to be able to participate as much as I wanted in the volunteer activities, I found it difficult to understand the clear lack of organisation.

Why was there no coordination between the volunteer organisations like Caritas and the public transport bodies e.g. bus or train to facilitate the transport of the volunteers? It just seemed so evident to me that I was astounded by the lack of coordination.

We began to prepare our packing boxes today. Going to my laboratory I took a few photos.

The first (above) shows the landslide that I witnessed during the earthquake on March 11.

The others show the state of the road near my laboratory.

- Jean-Joseph

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