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Anne Thomas – A Letter from Sendai March 27, 2011

Posted by chezanni in Community, Inspiration, Relief Work.
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This is from almost two weeks ago, but the spirit of the people of Sendai in the wake of the terrible disaster has not left my mind. To read more posts from Anne Thomas click here

Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal. But I am very blessed to have wonderful friends who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is even more worthy of that name, I am now staying at a friend’s home. We share supplies like water, food and a kerosene heater. We sleep lined up in one room, eat by candlelight, share stories. It is warm, friendly, and beautiful.

During the day we help each other clean up the mess in our homes. People sit in their cars, looking at news on their navigation screens, or line up to get drinking water when a source is open. If someone has water running in their home, they put out a sign so people can come to fill up their jugs and buckets.

It’s utterly amazingly that where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in lines. People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an earthquake strikes. People keep saying, “Oh, this is how it used to be in the old days when everyone helped one another.”

Quakes keep coming. Last night they struck about every 15 minutes. Sirens are constant and helicopters pass overhead often.

We got water for a few hours in our homes last night, and now it is for half a day. Electricity came on this afternoon. Gas has not yet come on. But all of this is by area. Some people have these things, others do not. No one has washed for several days. We feel grubby, but there are so much more important concerns than that for us now. I love this peeling away of non-essentials. Living fully on the level of instinct, of intuition, of caring, of what is needed for survival, not just of me, but of the entire group.

There are strange parallel universes happening. Houses a mess in some places, yet then a house with futons or laundry out drying in the sun. People lining up for water and food, and yet a few people out walking their dogs. All happening at the same time.

Other unexpected touches of beauty are first, the silence at night. No cars. No one out on the streets. And the heavens at night are scattered with stars. I usually can see about two, but now the whole sky is filled. The mountains are Sendai are solid and with the crisp air we can see them silhouetted against the sky magnificently.

And the Japanese themselves are so wonderful. I come back to my shack to check on it each day, now to send this e-mail since the electricity is on, and I find food and water left in my entranceway. I have no idea from whom, but it is there. Old men in green hats go from door to door checking to see if everyone is OK. People talk to complete strangers asking if they need help. I see no signs of fear. Resignation, yes, but fear or panic, no.

They tell us we can expect aftershocks, and even other major quakes, for another month or more. And we are getting constant tremors, rolls, shaking, rumbling. I am blessed in that I live in a part of Sendai that is a bit elevated, a bit more solid than other parts. So, so far this area is better off than others. Last night my friend’s husband came in from the country, bringing food and water. Blessed again.

Somehow at this time I realize from direct experience that there is indeed an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world right at this moment. And somehow as I experience the events happening now in Japan, I can feel my heart opening very wide. My brother asked me if I felt so small because of all that is happening. I don’t. Rather, I feel as part of something happening that much larger than myself. This wave of birthing (worldwide) is hard, and yet magnificent.

Thank you again for your care and Love of me,

With Love in return, to you all,


Wondering how you can help? Aid relief efforts by clicking here to donate to the Japanese Red Cross, or text redcross to 90999 to make a $10 donation.


Community Pulls Together to Help Homless Families March 27, 2011

Posted by chezanni in Community.
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I know Kate Lore and have seen her passion. There is no obstacle she won’t overcome to meet her goals. A true lightworker in action.

by Erin Codazzi

Reverend Kate Lore remembers what it was like to be a young child, confused about not having a permanent place to call home. Thanks to the kindness of a schoolteacher and some neighbors, Lore, her mother and her siblings were given a place to live until they could get back on their feet. Today, Lore, social justice minister at the First Unitarian Church, is paying the favor forward. She is one of the many forces behind Thirteen Salmon Family Center—the first day shelter for families on the west side of town.

Nationally, families make up the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. In Multnomah County, more than 800 families—including 1,276 children—are homeless on any night.* As the economy continues to falter, it’s likely these numbers will climb.

While overnight shelters for families are sparse, daytime services are even bleaker. “Many families end up biding their time at libraries or in hospital waiting rooms, hanging around and trying to look invisible until the night shelters open,” explains Lore. “Even then, they may be hesitant to seek assistance because they may be split up by gender.” Single fathers with daughters, for example, have a tough time finding resources that allow them to stay together.

At Thirteen Salmon, this isn’t an issue. When I visited the center, I saw a father napping with a toddler in the quiet room. Down the colorful hall, in the active room, a sister offered her brother a freshly baked imaginary cookie. She offered me one too, along with a spot of tea.

“Our goal here is to usher these families through this transition in their lives with compassion and kindness,” says Lore. She cites studies showing that if homeless families can get off the streets and into more permanent housing within six months, they will be more likely to stay off the streets and have a real shot at recovery. Thirteen Salmon tries to help families settle into long-term housing in less time: three weeks, when possible. “We welcome them here as guests,” continues Lore.

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