[ Grinding Artisan ]
“I am so grateful that I’ve been brought to this place.”
At first, I was unsure about the idea of making jewelry out of dishware. “What?” I thought, but the completed work was beautiful. I was so surprised at how completely different the pottery was from what it used to be. The women who work here are mothers who are the same age as me. Work is work, but I really love talking to my coworkers.
I hope Nozomi can continue on like this. I am thankful that I have been able to meet so many different people here. I am so grateful that I’ve been brought to this place.
Chieko’s 3/11 Story:
I was eating lunch when the earthquake hit. It was pretty severe so I left my home and went outside. When I got back, much of our furniture had fallen down. The first thing I thought of were my children so I rushed to pick them up from school. Everyone was trying to escape to the mountains so the traffic was pretty heavy. When we got back home, my husband and mother-in-law were there, putting coats in our car just in case. But none of us thought the tsunami would hit this far inland so we were pretty laidback. Then, from a distance we heard a loud voice yelling that the tsunami was coming. “What?!” I thought and started running with my child on my back. When I looked back, the tsunami was behind me. Our house is quite a distance from the shore so the waves were fairly calm but I could see they were carrying debris like tires and trash. There was a three-floor apartment building nearby so we evacuated to the third floor. When I looked out the window, everything was flooded. The family living there called out to us and invited us in so we spent the night in their home. There were people who didn’t make it in time—lots of people on top of their cars calling out for help and we couldn’t do anything.
The next day, the water hadn’t receded but from where I was I could see that the second floor of our house was still okay so we went home, carrying our children on our backs. I saw people shopping at a nearby convenience store so I went there as well to buy some food. I thought it would be better to be at home as it would also ease our children. The first floor was destroyed. The tatami mats were overturned and water had flooded to the fourth step. So we lived on the second floor. On the third day, my parents came over from Matsushima. They took me and the children home with them and we lived there for the next several months. During that time, my husband and my in-laws stayed in Ishinomaki to fix up our house. I would go over there to help, bringing necessary materials.
After the disaster, my children went to a temporary elementary school. I would drive them to school and back. That’s where I met Sue. She told me about what they were doing and asked me if I wanted to come see. That was how it all started. At first I was working in the bead room but recently I have moved over to the grinding room.