Case study: Debris clearing and gardening

This is a record of the INJM’s work on a private property in Watanoha, Ishinomaki. Situated near the Kadonowaki Elementary School (destroyed white building in background of photos below), this residential neighborhood was completely devastated by the tsunami. The water destroyed the houses and left mud and many other debris of various kinds behind. Only a few houses were left standing.

One of the owners of the houses contacted INJM to ask if we could clear the debris from where her house once stood. She wished to plant flowers in memory of the victims of the tsunami.

List of work: Clearing debris, flattening surface, planting of garden
Number of days worked: 2 (14 volunteers)
Description of work:

(Left) Original condition of the work site (Middle & Right) INJM volunteers preparing for work

The work involved in this project was quite simple. Since 8 months there had been no clearing of the area, so we cut the overgrown wild bushes and pulled the roots out of the ground. Using a team of motivated and hard working volunteers we cleared the work site within the first day (see photos below).

(Left) Work site at midday and (Right) cleaned and flattened at the end of the first day

On the next work day, our volunteers cleaned the top layer of soil (to get rid of the salt from tsunami water) and planted flowers and other plants. It is a testament to their motivating that the freezing temperatures and snow did not stop them!

(Left) INJM volunteers planting flowers and plants in the snow (Right) The finished garden

INJM would like to thank the volunteers who put in so much effort into this project. We are also very grateful to the owners of the house who allowed us to do this wonderful work for them. We hope that this spring, this garden will be a beautiful site in the midst of all the devastation. There are still a lot of places like this to clean, but with time and hard work we can transform them one garden at a time.

INJM volunteers with Matsumura-san (middle), the owner of the property we cleared

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