Our two days spent in Minamisanriku were incredible, and I feel like all of the class discussions and field trips were leading up to actually seeing the disaster area first-hand and hearing the stories of locals. It was an amazing and powerful experience that I won’t forget.
This is a picture of the disaster evacuation center, or really, what was left of it after the 3/11 tsunami. The resiliency of the people of Minamisanriku was represented so strongly in the heroic efforts of both the survivors and victims throughout the disaster area, and the newscasters of this particular evacuation center illustrate heroism well. They stayed until their last minutes of life to broadcast the happenings of the disaster, and died for their duty and occupation dedicated to helping others.
This type of sacrifice also mimics well the direction of Minamisanriku in the future, repairing and recovering after their major disaster. In order to repair the disaster-destroyed area, Minamisanriku needs everyone to work for the community, toward a greater goal of future protection and peace.
The future is bright in Minamisanriku because of the efforts of locals, volunteers, and foreigners to help get back what so many people lost in the earthquake and tsunami. This island head was a gift from Chile to Japan, and the Japanese use it as a symbol of the future, of what’s to come. I think that this is the most important thing that the people of Minamisnriku and other parts of the disaster area can do post-3/11: look to the future with hope. Tragedy is a part of all of our lives, a as much as we’d like to deny it. And, in my opinion, whether the tragedy is small scale–like the death of a friend–or large scale–like the deaths of thousands–there is still a process of grief and recovery that requires as much hope as you can muster in order to make it through.
The people of Minamisanriku and their ability for hope and pursuit for recovery following the Tohoku tragedy seem to be the keys to keeping their spirit alive. Their future is bright because of it.