Monday, March 14 – Food, Friends from the Outside World
Some of our efforts—and most importantly those of friends—we put in place began to pay off. A team of reporters from Pacific Stars & Stripes, where Yasue and I both used to work, finally made it to Sendai. Elena, the team’s interpreter is a friend of Yasue’s and she thankfully had some food for Yasue. It wasn’t much, but it sure did help. Elena and other friends wanted to bring more but the stores in Tokyo were indeed empty. As important as the food, was the opportunity for Yasue to visit with her friend, to connect with someone she knows from the outside world, proving that generosity of spirit and the power of human kindness sustain us as well. It also proves that help can get to Sendai. This was the first success of the new “company” Ian and I founded and called jokingly The FAB 2 (Food Acquisition Business Too). He’s the chief technologist (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). I’m the old fashioned phone/email guy. The FAB 2 is an ever-growing network of caring people helping us on what is currently a singular focus – get food to Yasue in Sendai.
Here is what we still have in the pipeline at FAB 2:
· Packages waiting in Tokyo for the Japanese delivery channels to re-open. These are coming from numerous Japanese and American friends at Pacific Stars & Stripes, the U.S. Embassy, the U.S. Customs Office in Tokyo and more.
· Our friends at CNN continue to share info about where food might be available.
· Relatives with connections to hotels and banks in Japan are seeing what they can do.
· A connection with the U.S. Navy continues to slug through the transportation barriers.
· Countless offers to help from co-workers, friends and family.
The only problem we have right now is “the last mile.” We can’t get food there. The roads are a mess. There is little to no gas. Helicopters are needed mostly for rescue (relief efforts come later).
Here in Hawaii, The Honolulu Star Advertiser ran a story about our situation that resulted in a whole new group of people learning about what we and others are going through. Our phones and email continued to get deluged with calls of concern and people offering help, suggestions and support.
Well, some mixed news. Yasue is thrilled that the elevators are working again. She won’t have to deal with the 14 flights of stairs to go look for food.
Yasue still has some food. Maybe a day or two. She is feeding herself, her mom and her mom’s three roommates (they moved another patient in today) because the hospital’s patient rations are getting smaller. Yasue said her mom and the other patients are getting weaker and are often hungry.
The bus line is now open to her house. Tomorrow, she will go by bus and hope that the house is still there and structurally sound enough to go in. She will clean and then pack warm clothes and food into a suitcase. Then, she thinks she will have maybe 1 or 2 weeks of food if she rations it carefully.
She expects the bus ride home will take about three hours each way. She is sure the road is open. We will keep our fingers crossed.
We continue to explore other ways to get her food. One or more of them will work soon.