At the evacuation center

Story: Senshinkai Foundation, Workshop Himawari (Vocational support center for the disabled)
Head of support team: Ms. Junko Ito

Did you spend the first night at Himawari?

No, we all took refuge at nearby public facility K-Wave (Kesennuma City General Gymnasium). We took with us cookies we had for sale. There had been a shared understanding that K-Wave was going to be our place if a disaster like that happened because it’s on a hill. There were many people taking refuge when we got there.


Were there any heaters at K-Wave?

No. We didn’t even have blankets there. We were at a part of the same big room as other evacuees at the beginning. However, because of the changes of places and situations, and because they couldn’t meet their family, some of our trainees started acting in hyperactive ways. Every evacuee felt insecure and anxious because of the disaster and their situation. It was difficult for our trainees to keep their rhythm of life in the middle of all other evacuees. They were treated indifferently when they went to bathrooms. Nobody was acting wrong but everybody was feeling overwhelmed by the situation. It was difficult for our trainees to understand and accept the situation. They talked very loudly at bathrooms, and they jumped around even though they were not feeling happy. We explained the situation and asked persons in the facility administration to let us use a separate room. They didn’t understand our necessity. We emphasized that having us there would cause troubles to other evacuees and finally convinced them to spare a meeting room for us. All the staff and the trainees spent in the room eating cookies that night. The situation at the gym didn’t allow us to stay there any longer, and we came back to Himawari the next day.