3/30 Earthquake Update03.30.11

Images from the television and newspaper today:

A mother/son hairstylist team cutting hair under a blue tarp in a temporary shelter. Since fleeing to the shelter, they borrowed scissors and decided to continue doing what they knew how to do. Today they had already shampooed and cut the hair of twelve people so far. The comment of one satisfied customer summed it up for all. “Since we don’t have any way to bathe or really wash up, it feels really good to get trimmed and clean up like this.”

The high school in Kazo, Saitama prefecture which will become the new home to 1200 people originally from the town of Futaba near the reactors. Today buses moved the first 490 people from the Saitama Super Arena to this high school. The people of Saitama City lined the roads and sent off the buses with smiles, waves, and placards, and the people of Kazo City welcomed the buses with the same. For some of the refugees, this is their 4th relocation in twenty days. Hopefully, they will be able to stay here until either they are cleared to go back to Futaba or decide to start a new life somewhere else. The people of Kazo have spent the last week hauling supplies, installing toilets, and cleaning. Thick tatami mats were spread on the floors of the classrooms to make sleeping more comfortable. For most of the refugees, this was their first time in twenty days to not sleep on a cold concrete or tile floor.

Workers trying to clean up the contamination at the Fukushima reactors are living in pretty grim conditions: One blanket apiece, sleeping with protective masks on the floor of cramped buildings with no ventilation, showers, and only two meals a day. For the full story, click here.

A comprehensive plan to deal with the reactors has yet to be unveiled. Snippets are suggested here and there, and one positive sign today was seen in Japan’s embracing of expertise as well as equipment from many countries. However, the basic approach seems to consist in pouring more water on the reactors, trying to extract highly radioactive water from the turbine room and the trench around it and find somewhere else to put it, then continue pouring on more water. Somehow it reminds me of someone I knew long ago who didn’t feel like going to the bathroom. Instead of admitting it, this child kept putting on pair after pair of underwear one on top of the other until there were none left in her drawer. If only she had realized she was wet, and the only way out of it was to face the truth then move on to the bathroom…if only nuclear reactors were so easy to clean up.

As I ponder my own irritation with the slowness of TEPCO to acknowledge the ramifications of the current situation, I’m reminded of Joshua, sent out to fight the Amelek (Exodus 17). Perhaps (quite likely) among the workers are some who feel that they are being sent out to fight giants without any guarantee of the outcome. Moses, Aaron and Hur go up the hill, and when Moses holds up his hands, Israel prevails; when his hands grow weary, Amalek prevails. Scripture doesn’t record Joshua’s feelings about being sent out to fight, or how he might have felt about the shifting tides of the battle. What seems clear to me is that the outcome depended in some mysterious way on Moses, Aaron, Hur,  Joshua, and all the others sent out to fight.  God responds to their trust and interdependence, and their combined efforts, as distinct in shape as they were. Although I’m by nature a cynic, this passage brings me hope today.

 

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Posted by Andrea Johnson under Uncategorized.

One Response to “3/30 Earthquake Update”

  1. Andrea,
    Your writing is always so beautiful. I have always wished I could write. But, I cannot. God has given you a great gift. Everyone who reads your words will be your Moses and hold up our hands for you to do battle with words. The combined effort will spread God to everyone. Always keep writing.

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    Posted by Lori Plesha on 12/13/09 March 31st, 2011 at 10:25 AMReply

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