Basanta Thapa: “I completely lost my trust in government”

Valley

Valley

I didn’t used to hate the members of Parliament, but when I saw them misusing the relief materials, I completely lost my trust in government. But then again, seeing people in the communities working hand-in-hand, I believed that yes, humanity does still exist in all of us.

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Bidhya Acharya: “It left a permanent darkness in the minds and hearts of our people”

Chai Shop Owner

Chai Shop Owner

The devastating earthquake of 2015 took parents away from children, children away from parents, and souls away from lives. It left a permanent darkness in the minds and hearts of our people.

Tears, stress and panic were everywhere. It was a time of grief and sorrow, a time when the entire country cried and prayed for the lives of their loved ones.

How would a person feel about him or herself in such a threatening situation? Those who lost loved ones would shed tears in their grief. A person injured would be afraid and pray for their own wellbeing. A dead person would no longer be there to realize what he was and what he could have been. A person who lost his house would realize he is now homeless and the economic pressure that is going to come. And a person who survived the disaster would realize how much his country needs him.

I personally was a victim of this earthquake. I lost the home where I was born, and still have many beautiful memories of the place.

At the exact moment of the earthquake, I strongly realized that I have to live, and that my life is precious. I realized how much I love my parents and siblings. I realized that I love my motherland so much that I cried seeing its history, heritage, and natural beauty turned to rubble.

I realized that my beautiful, incredible motherland needed a helping hand. I saw my brothers and sisters starving, in need of shelter, food, and clothing. I realized that if I was only able to help a little bit, my country would still be proud of me. One day I will be able to stand on my own and help my country.

When I found everyone living together in tents — rich, poor, those who are discriminated against, and the so-called upper class, I realized that the people of my country loved each other and so do I. We lived like one family and held each other’s hands during the aftershocks. Maybe this is the way to unite people; let them help each other and serve their country.

Overall, I realized what I was, and what I can be, what my feelings are toward my loved ones and my motherland, and what I can do for my country and its people. I thank God for saving my life and the lives of my loved ones.

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Ishu Adhikari: “I found joy in helping people in need”

Stationery Store Owner. Dhulikhel

Stationery Store Owner. Dhulikhel

The earthquake effected how I think about myself. I was struck by a realization of who I really am as opposed to who I thought I was. I thought my fear of dying would be stronger than every other feeling I possessed including my sense of responsibility and love towards my family.

But I was wrong. Just the opposite happened to me. I did not fear my death. I was more worried about my brother and sister who were with me at the time. I did my best to calm them instead of panicking. I realized I was more responsible than I thought I was.

During the country’s time of need, I was able to do things that I thought I was too lazy or incapable of doing. I had been underestimating myself. But now I realized my potential and learned what I can do. Social work was something I was always interested in, but I never had the opportunity to do it, and so I didn’t take it seriously. But after the quake, I went out to help the victims. I listened to their grief and sorrows, which I think helped them. That is when I realized I could be a social worker. I found joy in helping people in need.

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Ranjai Baidya: “I learnt that you can really see what people are made of in times like these”

Science Building Kathmandu University

Science Building Kathmandu University

No one who experienced this disastrous earthquake came away unchanged. If nothing else, it left a huge fear in people’s hearts.

I can’t deny that I myself was also changed. First, I realize how important it is to have your family and friends by your side during times like these. I see and hear about people who have lost their dear ones and I can hardly imagine myself in their situation. I feel myself lucky that I still have those people who were there for me when I needed them, and now I treasure them even more.

I learnt that you can really see what people are made of in times like these. There were those who helped everyone, even strangers, and there were others who refused even to share a tent with their neighbors.

There were people who risked their lives to save others, and there were many self-centered freaks who fought to get the relief material for themselves when they were the ones who needed them the least.

I discovered how easily people pretend to be someone they are not. I saw people who were initially the daring ones, running and screaming in fear when the ground began to shake, even though they were in the safest place they could be.

During my little efforts in helping to rebuild Nepal, I saw some people clearing out the rubble from their destroyed houses, not expecting any help from anyone, and I also saw people fighting just for a piece of wood.

In the end, I learnt that “The biggest of changes are possible even with our smallest of efforts,” and “We need to start with ourselves to bring about the change that we want to see in the world.”

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Safal Bastola: “We should forget the past and move on to a new beginning”

Village School Building

Pink Wall at Shree Mahankal Secondary School

I was at my home in Pokhara when it happened. It was scary and I felt like the world was coming to an end. Everything around me seemed different. It was also a near death experience for me. Though Pokhara wasn’t so much affected, it was pretty frightening when people talked about the casualties all over the nation. I was worried sick for my relatives and friends out there in the affected regions. Personally for me there was no big loss, but still I mourned for all the victims.

Since the quake, I think differently about this world and my existence in it. Life is too valuable to waste doing the things we don’t desire. We should be grateful for everything we have, and for having survived the quake. We should forget the past and move on to a new beginning. We should all lend a hand in rebuilding our beautiful nation. We should contribute at least something and hope that such a disaster will never happen again to our country.

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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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Bijay: “It was the first time I ever saw people getting trampled by a running mob”

Sacred Tree

Sacred Tree at Bela Village

On Baisakh 12 (April 25th), I and my friend Ujjwol were at Manakamana Temple in the Gorkha District. Summer had begun and it was a very hot day. People were standing in line to pray to the goddess Manakamana. We could not stand the heat and the extremely long line of devotees ahead of us, so we worshipped from outside. Then we decided to wander around for a bit.

But then, the ground below us started shaking violently. The Manakamana Temple and some nearby houses looked like they would topple at any moment. The scared throng of people started running for their lives, away from the quaking temple and the houses. Some people toppled and then others fell over them. It was the first time I ever saw people getting trampled by a running mob. I felt awful for not being able to do anything to calm the crowd and stop the havoc.

After that, we took sanctuary in an open area which quickly filled with people. From a distance I could see clouds of dust in the air. It didn’t take me long to realize that the dust clouds were due to the collapse of an entire village, and I was afraid for anyone who could have been trapped in the debris.

After what felt like a treacherously long time, the ground stopped moving and everyone tried to process the event that had completely shaken us down to the core. People were worried about their homes and their loved ones. Since, the only means of communication was jammed, probably due to heavy traffic in the network, I was unable to contact anyone back home in Pokhara.

After an hour or so, the connections were re-established and news soon came of the magnitude of destruction. We learned that the nearby village of Barpak was the epicenter of the quake, and hence, many villages in the district were reduced to rubble. News also came from Kathmandu and we learned about the death toll, the destruction of properties and archaeological monuments including the city’s pride, Darahara Tower.

This disaster caused me to ponder the force with which nature had struck my country and its people. It made me realize that neither wealth or pride are a match for nature when it strikes a blow with its full force. This earthquake got even the strongest and the richest to fear nature and to run for their lives.

Later, with lingering fear in our hearts we headed to Pokhara. At home, I and my family watched the news of the destitution brought by the earthquake, and for the first time it made me cry for my country.

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