Sunday, 23 June 2013


Recently a priest, Fr. Richard Helmer, from Diocese of California, visited the Let Us Walk Together Project with his son, Daniel and his friend Fr. Shintaro Ichihara, chaplain of Rikkyo jr. high and high school. Fr. Ichihara has visited and volunteered with the project many times so he knew a lot about the area and the disaster. On a Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago my fellow coworker joined these three kind men. We went around the Ishinomaki area seeing the various disaster sites.  

One of the sites was a high school.  When the earthquake happened on March 11 they had 30 minutes before the tsunami came. In Japan earthquakes are common so every school has drills and well defined rules for what to do if they are to come. If they do happen then everyone is supposed to leave the building immediately. While tsunamis happen they are not as common so there are not rules on what to do. So on this day when the earthquake happened and the principal was away the teachers had a hard time deciding what to do. They finally decided that they should evacuate the building and seek higher ground. So all the students formed a line and exited the building walking along the big hill by the school. One of the teachers went back into the building to make sure everyone had left. He didn’t have enough time to make it out before the tsunami came so he went to the roof and watched as the tsunami took 10 teacher's and 74 of the 103 student's lives. That teacher has not been able to talk since the disaster.

Now that school is a memorial site. It’s a place where there is no laughing; all the talking is done in whispers. There is a alter where people have left flowers, pictures, and some of the former students favorite food. I want to ask you to keep the family of these students and teachers in your prayers. I especially want to ask for your prayers for the teacher who watched it all happen.

Thanks for tuning in,

P.S. For more information about that trip please read Fr. Richard's blog.

1 comment:

  1. Katie- I have read both blogs and this stunned me. How does one come back from seeing what the teacher saw?

    Thank you.