I was asked by a friend to be part of an aid mission yesterday, and we handed out, made and served over 500 dishes of butter chicken curry and naan in Noda Village in Iwate prefecture. The whole aid mission was funded by friends and relatives of the restaurant owner in India. Very generous people and if you ever find yourself in Misawa in Aomori prefecture, make sure to stop off at Ankur Indian Food and thank Mawat himself. He is a very generous and hard working man, who is working hard to give back to the country that has given him so much. It was the first time I have ever seen a truck filled with Indian chefs (dressed in full chef clothing nonetheless) filled with curry and complete with two flaming (literally, they were on fire and sending out smoke as we drove) tan-door drums for making naan. Everything we served was, hot, fresh, handmade, and authentic. For most of the people in the village, it was their first time to ever eat Indian food. As Mawat said to them, it is a symbol that the world cares and is trying to help. Thanks to Mark S (whose 4x4 was the difference between success and failure), Kimio N and family, Mukesh, and all the gentlemen at Ankur.
On a side note, it is very different to see the devastation on TV and up close in person. Heart-breaking stuff. Everything is gone. Though, the people are in high spirits and everybody is working to, as one smiley old man so beautifully said, clean this shit up and get on with our lives. A strong sense of community exists in this small village, and they are doing their best in the face of extraordinary damage and suffering. They inspired me to do more and help in ways that go beyond just donating money. It also gives me hope that Japan will rebuild everything and get on with it, though this situation will never be forgotten.
Also, I am currently working on getting money sent from Canada (via the fathers workplace and company) to make another run as soon as possible. If you would like to help, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will how we can help.
NOTE: Even though I took pictures of the event, I will not post them online. They are personal and I wish them to stay that way.