After 5 hours of travelling, here I am, back to the city of
. Only this time there are no ditches to be dug
nor walls to be knocked down. I walked
on the street where our base used to be.
It seemed awfully quiet and empty.
The Yoda figure in the t-shirt shop’s window is no longer holding the
All Hands poster. The big blue handprint
sign of All Hands Volunteer is now buried under a layer of white paint. No hands, only the same hue of blue and white
is only trace that the busy traffic of volunteers had once constantly flooded in
and out of the shop’s gate. I took one
last look of the empty street, and turned into the small street toward Mr
Asano’s house, who has kindly offered me an empty apartment to stay at during
my time here. Ofunato
In between pints of beer and exchange of updates, Yu-san told me after the project was finished and the volunteers left, he felt such a huge, indescribable emptiness grew within that at times, he would wander to the places where the volunteers had worked at. Sometimes, he walked along the ditches that we had cleared; Sometimes, he sat in the
by himself. Yu’s eyes were misty as he told me, and added, “Sometimes, my eyes
would become teary when I looked at the messages you guys have signed on the
benches.” Midori Park
My eyes became teary too, as I listened to Yu. All of us who have been here are inevitably bonded to the people of this land more or less in some ways. We are not of the same blood line, nor do we have the same color of eyes or skin, nor speak in the same tongue. But only because we allowed ourselves to be here at a time of great need, consciously or unconsciously, an imperfect offering we have made ourselves to be. To the people in need, to the hearts in distraught, even though we, ourselves, are as broken as we are in our own life.