People of Nepal, Beacon of Resilience.
Yesterday, we crossed the three year mark of the earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25th, 2015. It has been a remarkable journey since then, many changes have occurred, personally for me and our nation as a whole.
Despite the immense national and international support, it is sad to witness that we haven’t been able to cover 5% of the rebuilding programs. Once the city of temples, Kathmandu and its historical monuments, our heritage, lofty pagodas are still in rubble- the priceless idols either stolen or buried for good!
However, today my thoughts are towards the Nepali citizens. You would have to know them to understand them.
I recall the days after the shake. Once the acute panic phase had past, leaving hundreds of people injured, thousands displaced. Every one were on the street, trying to find an open ground, living in the make shift tents, the ground underneath still shaking with 20-30 after shakes per day. Astonishingly, the people were remarkably calm, so resilient!
Small communities were built in any open space accessible- not that easy feat in Kathmandu. No stories of robbery, crime or theft occurred. People opened the fences of their properties for others, for complete strangers. Schools gave away their play grounds, the affluent offered their lawns. Every one behaved, they were still cheerful.
We at the hospital also hosted almost the entire town, approximately 50 households through out the entire period. I noticed when they were establishing the settlement, none of them concerned with the cast divisions, races, nor any one was discriminated based on political affiliations, neither between rich or poor. Anyone could be the next door neighbor in their plastic shelter. They helped each other build their roofs. During the day they would work together to clear the debris, recover what ever is left of their properties and during night they would feast, play loud music and dance. Every one was just happy to be alive, together they just embraced their life.
It is astounding, how people have different mechanisms to cope with stress. And I can now understand why our culture is our strength. We have one of the best social support system. Our people did not wait for the government or international NGOs to come to help, they started helping each other right away and they somehow discovered joy in it. Together they sang, hooted, cheered. Collaboratively, they encouraged each other to surpass the grief.
If it were only for us, I have many strong reasons to believe we would have completed the rebuilding phase by today. The conflicting geopolitical interests, national and international cynicism that prevent us to be “us”, always prefers instability- surprisingly always wins!
However, again I want to share my appraisal to the resilient people of Nepal. They have endured decades of political turmoil, 12 years long civil war, hunger, oppression, poor health, natural disasters on top and yet bear one of the sweetest smile on the planet.
Thank you again everyone for being my friend, our friend. You give us hope.
You make us believe together we can.