Saugat Adhikary: “If we are united, we can rise again”

Rice fields near Kathmandu University

Rice fields near Kathmandu University

I was busy putting vitamins on the potatoes out in the fields when the land started trembling with a terrifying noise. The aftershocks continued after that for many days. Hundreds of houses fell apart in front of my naked eyes, and the dust coming from the falling houses made the scene even worse. Many people lost their lives. For others, their fathers, mothers and children were taken from them forever.

This earthquake has had a great effect on me. My body is still shaking, my legs still trembling, and my heart still pounding. I was in total fear of losing my life, and to remain alive I stayed outside in a tent for over a month. I was injured during an aftershock on April 26th, so now even a very tiny tremor terrifies me and forces me to run out of my house like a rocket.

The quake taught me to help people in need, and to aid the victims in whatever way I can. It’s also taught me the importance of togetherness, teamwork, and brotherhood. If we are united, we can rise again, our country can stand tall, and our history can be saved.

Before the earthquake I used to dream of living in a big beautiful house. But my perspective has changed. Now I would prefer to live in a one story cottage where I can remain safe and secure.

The earthquake has taught me to be a man who can save his own life in a calamity, guide others to safety, help those in need, and to be a role model because of my good deeds.

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Pratyush Pradhan: “Frankly, I thought volunteering was dull and boring before the quake”

Wedding PartyNatural disasters are unstoppable and mostly unpredictable. It is a time when Mother Nature shows her dark side and her wrath to us. Many people die in such natural disasters and many who survive are left traumatize.

The earthquake changed my way of thinking and my prospective on life. I used to be picky with what I ate and complain about the food, but the earthquake made me realize the importance of getting a proper meal each day. It also made me realize the importance of the family bond. At a time that looked like the end of the world to me, the safety of my family always came first.

After this disastrous event, I value my life more than ever. I’ve also come to understand what people can do to help each other. Frankly, I thought volunteering and other social activities were dull and boring before the quake. But now I understand the value and importance of giving help to others and getting help from others.

The series of earthquakes and aftershocks that shook our country has really been a heartbreaking disaster for us Nepalese. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The earthquake definitely made me stronger. I think of it as a timely reminder of the uncertainty of the future and the importance of our lives.

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Sushmita Sapkota: “The destruction taught me to think and work for the sake of others”

Reclining DeityI was with my relatives at Dakshinkali when the quake struck. The people there were so afraid that seeing them, I felt that life had come to an end. When the tremors stopped, we went home. The condition of the houses, the people, and the road was pathetic. I felt useless because I wasn’t doing anything for anybody.

Feelings of love towards the homeless, orphans, and old people came over me and I felt like contributing something from my side. Such feelings were never aroused in me before. Nowadays people have become so selfish that they only dream of going to some foreign country. I too used to think that way, but now I am free from such selfish thoughts. I have realized the importance of our country and I believe that it’s our duty to maintain it.

With these thoughts in mind, I went to Bir Hospital to serve the victims of the earthquake. I provided my service and I was much satisfied with that decision. I learnt to transform my sentiments and feelings into action. The destruction created by the earthquake taught me to think and work for the sake of others.

When I was given the responsibility of volunteer coordinator by Nyma Bhutiya, founder of Vijayapur Helping Hands, I became more responsible in my work and learnt how to be a leader. The girl who used to be so afraid of traveling alone was now leading a group, offering help, and even conducting donation campaigns. The positive changes that developed in me were possible only due to my active participation in relief work after the earthquake.

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Ishwor Shrestha: “For the first time in my life, I felt bad for people who were unknown to me”

Buddhist Stupa

Just before the calamity I was helping my parents with some house work when I felt a mild vertical shaking of the house. I knew immediately what it was. Slowly, I went outside with my family members.

After a few seconds, the shaking pattern changed from vertical to horizontal and with an intensity I had never felt or faced before. I was really scared and everyone around me seemed scared too. Buildings were shaking in such a way that we lost hope that our house would remain standing. I saw houses blow up as if from bomb blasts like I’d seen in the movies. Luckily none of the houses in our village fell down, but most of them had cracks.

It was not my first earthquake, but I was not scared like this in earlier quakes. Not only me, but everyone seemed really scared this time. I never thought that nature could be so scary. That first day, we felt constant strong aftershocks which scared us even more. People started making tents in open areas. Our family and neighbors also built a tent and shared.
That whole day and night we felt the aftershocks constantly.

In the news, we learned that thousands of people had been killed. For the first time in my life, I felt bad for people who were unknown to me. I felt for them as if they were my own.

We still feel the aftershocks at least once a day and I’m praying for God to end them forever. We Nepalese faced this difficult challenge from nature, and I hope and pray that we will never have to face it again.

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Pujan Shrestha: “I heard someone screaming Bhuichaalo aaaayooo!!!”

Temple Brick Work

Temple Brick Work

On my way home, I started hearing unusual sounds and I felt as if I was walking drunk. Then I realized that the ground was trembling and that it was an earthquake; one that was bigger than ever before and which took a long time to stop. I was near my home, and could see my house swinging right and left. My mother rushed outside as did everyone else in the neighborhood. Since I was in a safe place, I was not scared at all. Instead, I was observing the whole situation with a lot of curiosity. After a few hours, the sad news started to come in of casualties and the destruction of homes and cultural heritage sites and more.

Then on Baisakh 29, (May 12, 2015) I was sleeping when I heard someone screaming “Bhuichaalo aaaayooo!!!” My brother and I woke up in confusion. He looked at me and I looked at him, and without knowing what was happening, we both rushed outside barefooted. With the fear that we might get crushed by the house, we ran so fast that we hardly knew we had already arrived outside. Every member of my family and my neighbors were safe this time as well.

After experiencing the earthquake and several aftershocks, I found I had changed in a number of ways. Firstly, I learnt several safety precautions to be applied during such disasters; don’t panic and proceed calmly and with caution. Secondly, I had an opportunity to experience how it feels to live in a tent in a field under the open sky, like those who are forced to live in ghettos or as refugees.

Thirdly, because of the aftershocks, I started developing a kind of mental discomfort. Whenever someone screams or if I feel a little tremor, my heart freezes for a moment and I feel weak. In addition, whenever I walk through a narrow passageway between tall houses, I start thinking “what if the ground started trembling and I were trapped there?” and I start searching for a safe place.

Finally, because of this disaster, I’ve had an opportunity to get to know about my neighbors, and I’ve established better relations with them.

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Safal Shrestha: “People said, ‘It’s God who has done this to kill the evils of the earth.'”

Society of Nepali Writers in English

Society of Nepali Writers in English

During the quake I was in Kathmandu at the bus park. At first I didn’t know it was a quake, but when people started to run, I knew what it was. The ground was shaking and I ran towards a safe place. Then the buildings around the bus park started to collapse and the sky was filled with dust.

People were crying and saying “It’s God who has done this to kill the evils of the earth.” But I kept my silence, thinking “It’s just an earthquake and why should we worry?”

My cell phone rang. It was my dearest mother. She was worried and I told her to stay calm and promised her that nothing bad would happen to me.

When I came out of the bus park, the road was filled with people. I grabbed a bus to Banasthali and went to my sister’s. People there were sitting in the open fields with their families.

After that, I went to Shova Bhagawati, where a lot of destruction had taken place. I saw dead people being taken out of their broken houses. I took pity on a dead mother and her two-year-old baby who were under the fallen ceiling of their house. The tears of the other mother’s drove me away from there. I didn’t have enough courage to give them my sympathy.

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Aayush Ratna Sthapit: “I felt a sudden push from deep down in the earth”

Kathmandu University Cafeteria Lunch

Kathmandu University Cafeteria Lunch

I was, as usual, just watching TV on the sixth floor of my house when I felt a sudden push from deep down in the earth. When a second, stronger tremor struck, I had a feeling in my heart that this was the end. All that cinematic crap about how when you are close to death you get a flashback to those moments of joy and fear in your life did not happen in my case. The only thought in my mind was to race down to the ground floor and get to a place of safety. In my flight, my vision was blurred, and my ears were nearly deaf due to the roaring of the quake. The memory of that sound still scares me. In front of me the stair rails shook to and fro like they were going to break. When I reached the ground floor, the earth was still shaking.

This disaster brought about some significant changes in my life. After you see over 200 dead bodies just lying there in front of you, you really understand the importance of life and what it means. Before the quake, I never had a lot of determination to achieve my life’s goals, but now I am very serious and determined to complete my wish list. And when I fail, I don’t lose hope like I used to. I have gained some self-confidence, and I no longer get depressed easily.

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