Trip to Bidur Nagarpalika in Nuwakot, Nepal I had been working in support of relief aid from Kathmandu and not going outside of the valley for various reasons. · Safety – Aid convoys were being robbed, victims were angry and aggressiv
· because no one had been to their villages to help
· Did not want to add extra burden of taxing villagers limited resources
· Like supporting Nepalese to help Nepalese
11 days after the quake we thought it would be safe enough to visit the village of Bidur Nagarpalika in Nuwakot that we (Action for Child Rights International, Nepal Art for Education and Givingasha) had sent aid to. Our method of working has been to support areas where we have a trusted person on the ground. In this case Buddhi Bal Magarati, an ACR team member.
We had been hearing these reports of total devastation, but until you actually see it you cannot understand. We stopped for a soda on the way in a small village with several standing cement houses, which are generally thought to be better and stronger than the traditional stone and mud houses. Even these homes which villagers all aspired to have were damaged and 11 days later the owners were sleeping outside too afraid to go inside to get a blanket.
The countryside was dotted with bright orange tarps used as make-shift housing. Buddhi’s home is located right behind the school, which is very heavily damaged. His family had a cement house, but that too is damaged. There are around 200 homes in his village, but spread out in little clusters. His family lives in a cluster of 20 houses. Only 2 cement homes are left standing, all other old mud & stone houses are destroyed.
I just looked around and thought “Where do you begin?” The group of families had already built 3 semi-permanent house out of debris from the fallen houses and were clearing and leveling areas for the next ones to go up. They were saying they wanted them to last 3 years until they can rebuild, but at least 1 of them is not fit to last through the monsoon.
The lucky thing about this small village is that they have good clean running water and many latrines are still standing, so they are able to stay somewhat healthy. Small silver lining in an otherwise bleak situation.
The fear and uncertainty go on for all of us – no matter where we are. Our immediate wormy is about our kids and then letting you know we are okay.
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Beth Brewster is the Executive Director of Giving Asha.