One of my key goals for this trip was to do some volunteering in the tsunami-affected areas of Tohoku, and a few days ago I finally made that a reality. Unfortunately, despite huge amounts of rebuilding work still to be done four years on from the March 2011 disaster, I found it surprisingly difficult to find information about any volunteering opportunities online. As such, I had all but given up hope of being able to make anything but a monetary contribution, when I hit on a couple of new Facebook groups and put out my feelers one last time for any available opportunities. As it turns out, I got a good response, with three possible options. However, by this stage of the trip, having previously been unable to find anything, unfortunately I had only a couple of days available in my schedule (between WWOOFing stints) to be able to volunteer; this ruled out two of the three options, which required a minimum week-long commitment.
So, I contacted the third suggestion – a non-profit organisation called OGA for Aid, which I could see from their website, undertakes a number of different initiatives and events in Minamisanriku – one of the worst-hit areas in Miyagi prefecture. Though there were no events on during the time I would be visiting, I received a reply saying that I could help with the Miyagi Green Farmers project, doing some farm/field work. Since I’m interested in growing vegetables and have some experience in that area, this seemed right up my alley! I checked out the project in more detail on the website, and got the impression that I would be contributing to help local farmers get back on their feet.