On the morning of Monday, September 7, I woke up ready to embark on another leg of our adventure. This was to be the day we would journey to a town in need of innovation and revitalization. We were heading to Rikuzentakata.
None of us were unfamiliar with the name of the small coastal city, as many weeks were spent trying to understand not only the history of its demise with the occurrence of the tsunami on March 11, 2011, but also the ways in which it has been striving to rebuild. However, all of the articles and videos could only do so much to prepare me for what I would experience upon arrival.
The sight that took the biggest toll on my imagination was looking upon the empty shell of a Tapic 45 building that was once a bustling center of business.
The large white building had clear signs it had been through more than it could handle. All that could be seen on the inside were fragments of debris that were reminders of the tragedy that devastated an unprepared city.
Following the initial shock, I slowly started to focus on the positives of the scene before me. While the 3/11 tsunami was powerful in destroying much of Rikuzentakata, there were still survivors that remained. This building was still here and so were some of the people that could remember its previous state. There was still hope in the hearts of every resident of the city, and that determination to overcome the dismal aftermath of the disaster was the reason we had been brought to this place. We had only just begun our mission to help this community, but I was already ready to take action. While I knew our actions here were to be limited with time, they were not going to be minimized in effort. We were going to do everything we could to help Rikuzentakata.