Comedian san. We joked and then he would joke even more. Whether it was with a quick word or an oscar winning mime. This guy had all the volunteers in stitches. He had good English too and was proficient enough to joke in it for our benefit. He came from Tago town the next station down the track. He arrived on a mama-charry, one of the standard bicycles everyone had before racers and mountain bikes came on the scene. He was really too hip a person to be seen on one of these. But there he was.Closing in on his mid forties while on the bike, instantly 10 years younger when off. He had his baseball cap on backwards, yellow tinted work glasses and would smoke when every one else did.
We arrived in with pet food and asked if any was needed here before we went out on our rounds. Everyone pointed at him. If we had some to spare that would be nice but if not, not to worry.We gave him a bag each for his two older Shibas and cat. I was a little hesitant because I thought, given that he was volunteering at this place then he, like me, didn't have needs. I thought because he said "only if we had some to spare" that he, like me, didn't have needs. I thought because he was in such an upbeat mood that he like me didn't have needs.
I was wrong. The tsunami came. He held his wheelchair bound grandmother's hand until the water got high enough for him to swim out of the back window of their house, all the while supporting her. They both survived, their house did not. Same fate for his place of work, his car and all his worldly goods. The mamma charry he arrived in on was donated. That was now his sole means of transport.Yet here this young guy was, spending two back breaking days cleaning debris for friend's family. I only discovered his story at the end of the day when we had no food left. We brought extra the next day but he wasn't there.