Contrasting Situations

By mid-July, dramatic changes could be seen at the various photo cleaning workshops. The numerous albums that had lined the floor of Karakuwa Gymnasium were gone; replaced by boxes arranged by area, and containing photographs that had been cleaned and sorted.

Some operations, such as workshop at the gymnasium of Yuriage Elementary School in Natori, were still dealing with problems. The number of volunteers had greatly decreased between April and the Golden Week Holidays in May. Whilst the remaining members had managed to clean individual photographs, around 300 boxes of mud-covered albums remained untouched. For those people in search of their photographs, being faced with piles of damaged albums was potentially a very painful process, and the number of people visiting the gymnasium began to decrease.

In the case of Yuriage, the workshop was formed and managed solely by volunteers, and in the absence of a leader it was hard to decide whether to send the albums elsewhere for cleaning. As people were aware of the progress we'd made at our workshop – particularly with the photographs from Kesennuma – we accidentally met the municipal officer, with whom we consulted to arrange the shipping of the photos to our Ashigara Site.