August 22, 2011
On the Sanriku Coast, more than 100 Filipina survivors
of the recent Japanese tsunami
band together to survive the rebuilding process.
Two-thirds of these women have lost their homes in the March 11 tsunami, and four individuals died in the catastrophe.
Prior to the tsunami, these Filipinas were members of a support group, offering each other assistance in adapting to their adopted country.
Amelia Sasaki, the groups leader, has lived in Japan for 31 years and has been a resident of Minamisanriku, about 370km northeast of Tokyo, for 26 years.
Sasaki has never lost hope, despite the setbacks. She reveals a strong work ethic in her interview with UCANews
: As long as were alive, well manage somehow. I was always able to tell myself that even if we had to start from less than nothing, it would be OK.
Sasaki has put all her familys remaining resources into purchasing a prefabricated hut where she will reopen her English classroom. The thought of leaving Minamsanriku for Tokyo or other, safer cities, never crossed Sasakis mind.
For me personally, it took three or four years for the locals here to really accept me. Now theres no one around here who doesnt know me, and everyone is (just like) my family. Even if I went somewhere else, Id have to start from zero. So if I have to begin from scratch either way, I decided I would rather do what I can for everyone here, she said. Right now, it feels like Im starting my life over again, like its a second life.
Normelita Chiba, another member of Sasakis group living in Minamisanriku, works on rebuilding her life with her husband in the hospital on kidney dialysis. Chibas husband also lost his livelihood, a hotel, in the tsunami
My husband has kidney problems and needs kidney dialysis, but the hospital here was washed away, said Chiba. I didnt know what to do, so I called Amelia and got some information. Every day was terrible, with nothing but stress and worry. But with my husband in the hospital, I just have to do my best.
Sasaki and her group are focused on helping each other survive
It takes too much time to wait for the government. Right now, theres nothing to do but what we can do ourselves.