Sweta Hamal: “Suddenly, I was changed from a selfish, unaware, lazy young teenager into an aware, responsible citizen”



What is life? What is pain and sorrow? What is happiness? What is unity? The earthquake answered all these questions for me. Life is unpredictable. No one knows what nature has in store for us. No one knows what God is planning, not even the psychics.

On that terrible day, my friend and I were on the bus from Kathmandu back to our college in Dhulikhel, talking about a sports event that was going to be held the following day. We got as far as Bhaktapur when suddenly people around us started screaming and running. I didn’t know it was an earthquake until I looked up and saw a house collapsing right in front of me. People were covered in blood; and tears were falling like rivers from their eyes. Some had lost their hands. Some had lost their eyes. Many faced an untimely death. One after another, the shocks came and went and everybody was scared to death.

I used to watch other countries facing natural disasters on television, but frankly, I never felt the pain, the fear, the suffocation and frustration that I am feeling now after going through this earthquake. I never thought about my country and its people until I saw babies crying, parents terrified, dead bodies lying in the streets, families broken, pets disappearing, streets filled with rubble, pavement cracked, and peace transformed into confusion.

My desire to contribute something to my country was triggered by the earthquake. Suddenly, I was changed from a selfish, unaware, lazy young teenager into an aware, responsible citizen.

The earthquake may have broken buildings, destroyed historical places, and separated souls from bodies, but it also joined the hearts of every Nepali, united the hands of the youth, and gave us the inspiration and courage to build a new Nepal.

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