Tales from the Road – Nepal 2016

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Blink and you’ll miss a quaint village in the Helambu region of Nepal. This quiet village sits nestled in a valley between snowcapped mountains. Goats and chickens run freely from house to house while cows lazily swat flies with their tails. Mothers hang up their families’ clothes to dry on weathered strings. Fathers teach their children how to harvest crops with dull, rusted tools. This sleepy village seems far away from the rest of the world. It seems impossible that only months ago it was the epicenter for an earthquake that shocked the world and sent Nepal spiraling into chaos.

Near to the end of the village lives a family of four.  They have lived their entire lives in the village and have no intention of leaving. This family lives a simple life. The father spends his days harvesting crops, while the mother looks after their two young children and is in charge of household chores.

The father can still distinctly remember the earthquake when it first hit. He was waiting for lunch with his two children sitting comfortably in his lap. His wife was cooking their typical lunch, rice and chicken, over an open flame. Without warning, the earth beneath them began to shake uncontrollably. His home that he had lived in all his life rattled and creaked as pieces of it slowly began to chip off its walls. The fire used for cooking lunch began to slowly spread throughout the house. This man grabbed his children by the hands as smoke began to fill his lungs and flames continued to disperse. Him and his wife ran outside, their children trailing behind them. They watched helplessly as their home went up in flames and was eventually reduced to nothing but ash and debris.  

Every family in the village in Helambu shares a similar story. After the earthquake hit, their lives turned upside down, as they were left with piles of rubble in place of their homes. Months later, the village still sits tired and worn. In place of previous homes, there are makeshift shacks with meager supplies to live. Despite the apparent state of ruin, there is an undercurrent of determination amongst the villagers. Every single person shares the same energy and will to reverse the damage caused by the earthquake. They endure backbreaking labor without fault, working tirelessly to collect materials to rebuild their homes and farms. Their spirit to never give up is admirable, and there is no doubt that this community will overcome the devastating effects of the earthquake through simply their sheer motivation to overcome.