Pratika Bhandary: “I never encountered any difficulties in my life until the earthquake struck”

Staircase leading down to the Science Building, Kathmandu University

Staircase leading down to the Science Building, Kathmandu University

Ever since my school days I’ve been interested in social service, and have been active in the various social activities organized by our school and college. My parents, on the other hand, have always been protective of me. They set a bubble between me and my surroundings, so I never encountered any difficulties in my life until the earthquake struck on Baishak 12 (April 25th).

I never used to argue with my parents before Baishak 12. But on Baishak 13, I argued with them to let me go and serve the people. They refused to give me permission, but I broke the bubble and went to “Bir Hospital Trauma Center” to look after the victims. I was there for a week.

During that time I observed very closely the pain and suffering of people who’d lost their loved ones, and their fear of a blank future. I had never done this kind of work before. I worked whole days from 10 AM to 7 PM for a week without a proper balance diet. Whenever I thought of taking a break I would see those people in agony and would not allow myself to rest. At the end of the seventh day my body couldn’t take this hectic schedule anymore, and I got ill.

The earthquake changed how I look at people. And since I’m an engineering student, it also caused me to think differently about how houses are constructed, and also about how we manage our society. The greatest thing it taught me, though, was to “Follow your dream,” because life is short and we don’t know what will happen next.

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