We’ve all seen the horrific footage from the 2011 Japan tsunami, but if it wasn’t for MMA legend Enson Inoue (and Dan Herbertson’s excellent reporting), I’d have never gotten a real human perspective on the disaster. Enson has been a tireless supporter of the victims of this tragedy, and continues to fight for them and raise awareness for their plight. His latest campaign:
Beginning in September, Inoue will trek close to 1500 miles in honor of the displaced, including through the ravaged areas of Iwate Prefecture — staying wherever he may find shelter and only carrying his own food and water.
He’s asking fans to pledge support, accepting donations through his website which will be used for supplies to help the displaced.
“What we’ll be doing is not only raising money for the people up there, but also I want to make it so it inspires them too,” Inoue explains of the walk he will take with two longtime friends, Roman De La Cruz of Fokai Industries and K-1 veteran Pat Ayuyu.
“As far as food and water goes, we’re going to run out of supplies, yeah?” he adds, his Hawaii accent still rock-solid after two decades in Japan. “But these people don’t have work and don’t have a way to purchase what they want. That’s why I’m making that rule, that we only eat what we carry, to put us in the situation where we have to depend on people’s help too.”
“They’re in a situation (in Northern Japan) where they need to rely on other people,” he continues. “It’s not possible to make it all the way across Japan only carrying food and water, without help. We’re going to have to sleep outside every day. So it’s kind of like their situation, unstable. They’re in temporary housing and they don’t know how long they’re going to be there. They’re not confident they’ll always have a place to sleep. We might find a good place to sleep one night, and not find anywhere to sleep the next.”
“You’ve got to keep the hope. If you look at the resources, there’s really no way to make it. If you look at the people in temporary housing, it’s the same: some of them end up having to wait until hope comes. I hope it inspires them to continue on.”
“If you skip a couple of beers and pledge a penny per mile,” Inoue explains, “at the end of the journey, that $13 will buy water for a family for a month, or rice for a couple weeks. You can help people in ways that are life changing.”
Donations can be made through Enson Inoue’s website, DestinyForever.com.
Unfortunately, Paypal shut down his ability to collect donations so they have to be collected through purchases with credit cards of jewelery or signed photos. It’s a pretty good cause though … the media has long moved on to fresher, sexier disasters leaving a lot of people in the affected regions with very little support.