Day 8 and 9: Pokhari bhanjyang, dhading and Bhangala gaun, Kavre.

Had a very busy two days, delivering relief materials to needy villagers affected by the quake. On Thursday went with AYON to deliver relief materials to pokhari bhanjyang, Dhading, an 1.5 hours drive on a 4 wheel drive truck over super rough terrain. But all the discomfort of the journey was more than compensated by the stunning beauty of the countryside and the blessings of the villagers waiting for our relief materials.

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Although we were delayed for more than 6 hours due a massive jam on the highway, the villagers patiently waited for us. The sheer poverty and helplessness of the people there was so moving, and there are probably thousands other villages just as badly affected if not worse affected. A big thanks to the brothers from AYON for helping to coordinate this relief work.

Thursday we joined the team from HSWO to deliver relief supplies to bhangala gaun, Khopasi, Kavre. Even though the place is so close to the capital, due to the very rough hilly terrain, it might as well have been in the far-west. This travel made me realize the enormous challenges that we face in connecting the far flung areas.

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Once again, all the bumps and knocks on the road were all washed away by the smiles of the locals, who despite going through such trying times, are still managing to keep their spirits high. God bless them!

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With the HSWO team.

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My hero for the past two days are the rural Nepalese, who are so amazingly resilient and are doing their best to get back to normal life despite the challenges life throws at them the complete lack of support from the local/central government. I feel proud to such champion compatriots!

Day 7: Nepalese Diaspora

Met up today with few friends from I.SC. days, it was quite an international group: Samir Raghubhanshi, who was here from Australia since past few days for his daughter’s ii, Prabhakar Shrestha, who just landed on Tuesday from Germany with 45 days leave, myself from Singapore, and Mani Shrestha, who helped to host the gathering. We were brainstorming what could we do as a group for the mid to long term rebuilding of Nepal. One area we identified for the very near term was shelters for the people of affected areas, at the very least, to tide over the monsoon season. Once the monsoon rain arrives, the damaged houses will be in a mess, and the people living in the open or under tents will need better shelters. Although, due to lack of time we couldn’t reach any concrete decision, we will be continuing the discussions via emails and calls.
My heroes of the day: all those volunteers and well wishers, Nepalese or non-Nepalese, in or out of Nepal, who are whole heartedly pouring themselves into the rebuilding process of Nepal. If we can sustain this level of assistance beyond the initial donations drive, I am sure we will rebuild Nepal in no time!

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Heartened to see that BICC survived the quake. Let’s hope that the constitution drafting process survived as well.

Day 6: Ground zero

Finally found the time and courage today to go and visit the ground zero of Kathmandu, the old city center of Ason, Basantapur and surrounding areas. Even though Ason is full of centuries old houses packed into narrow alleys, most of them survived the horrible disaster. The place was buzzing with activities, it was almost as if the quake never even happened.

Basantapur wasn’t that lucky though, it was a heart breaking scene, many of our centuries years old temples and palaces lay in rubbles, with no resemblance to their former glory days. All that remains of Kasthamandup is just a pile of bricks and woods:

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The remains of Kasthsmandap

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I sincerely hope that these bikes were just parked there.

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Both the old palace and the nine stories temples are badly damaged.

Managed to track down one of our I.SC. time’s favourite restaurants in the Ason area, but all that in vain as it was closed due to the damaged house next doors:

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On a brighter note, met up with the people of Association of Youth Organizations Nepal (AYON) to plan our next relief works. The whole place was buzzing with activities. So heartened to see so many youngsters devoting their time and resources to their fellow countrymen in need. If we had more such youngsters actively involved in the country’s development, we will catch up the rest of the countries in no time. Sometimes we have to face our deepest fears to discover our innermost courage. In every adversity, there is a seed of equal or greater benefits. May this disaster be such a seed!
My hero of the day: AYON

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Day 5: Buddha Jayanti

It was a brilliant full moon night yesterday, the Kathmandu valley looked so beautiful covered in the warm glow of the brilliant full moon light, coupled with the cool breeze and the uncharacteristic silence, one could be forgiven for thinking that this is paradise, and not a city that was recently ravaged by one of the worst diasters in recent times. This made me realize that this quake may have broken our houses, but our spirits are not broken, we will unite and rebuild this beautiful city that our ancestors have left in our care, to be handed over to our next generation. It is sad to see some of our most well known cultural heritages in shambles, like Dharahara below:

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It was heartening to see that some of the other sites escaped without much harm, like Boudhanath below:

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Met up with some natives of Gorkha, one of the worst hit districts, to discuss the needs of the natives, and possible relief works. The pattern that is emerging again and again is that people are suffering more for the lack of basic supplies like tents, and clean water and food, than for medical assistance. Supplies have probably reached most of the places that are easily accessible, but there are many small villages, which are away from the main roads, that no one have reached yet. The challenge right now is access to such data.

My hero for today are the youths of Nepal, people like my cousin sister Swama and her friend Roshan, who despite lacking experience, are full of enthusiasm and wants to do whatever they can to help their fellow countrymen tide out this tough times. Many youths have approached me and expressed their desire to be involved in the relief works. I am sure that if we are able to tap into the potential of such enthusiastic young people, we will rebuild Nepal in no time!

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My cousin sis Swama offering to be my guide and transporter since last 2 days.

This was the quietest Budhha Jayanti I have ever witnessed. May Lord Buddha give us the strength to perservere through this trying time, and the compassion to assist those who need help more than us.

Day 4: Around KTM

Finally got some time today to go around Kathmandu and visit some relatives. Life is starting to get back to some sort of normalcy, at least in Kathmandu but most of the shops and malls are still closed, the notorious traffic of Kathmandu was surprisingly smooth, in large part due to the close to 700,000 migrant workers who rushed back to their home towns to visit their relatives.

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360 view of Kathmandu today.

The tourist ghetto Thamel was surprisingly vibrant, almost all shops were open, though the tourist volume was noticeably down. Many of the shopowners around Thamel were expressing pessimistic views towards the future of tourism in Nepal, my aunt Manjani who is with Yeti Airlines, was also telling us about the slew of flight cancellations from the Indian pilgrim tourists, May is usually a busy month for the pilgrim tourism, but this year’s May is looking to b very different. I think it is not a time to harbour fears and doubts, this is the time to rise out of our fears and anxieties, to stop praying and to start working for Nepal:

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Our priority right now should be to let the future tourists know that what they see in the media is just one side of the story, that things on ground are not as bad as it looks to be. This is the time that we Nepalese, as a people, should stand together and rally our efforts towards rebuilding Nepal. If Japan and Germany can rise out of the terrible destructions of World War two and go on to become one of the top world economies, so shall Nepal rise out of this tragedy and emerge as a more united and stronger country.
My hero of the day are all the Nepalese, near or far, who are refusing to accept defeat, but find strength in times of need, to fight and hope for an even better Nepal!

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Day 3: Dandh Gaun

Woke up before the sun did to join the Mercy Relief Singapore team on their medical camp mission to Dandh Gaun, a small village right below the northern face of the popular tourist site Nagarkot. Such a picturesque place with such magnificent view of the Himalayas, but having to go through such a hardship; many of houses in the village, including the health post has been damaged beyond repair, luckily the human casualties have not been big. Sharing few selected pictures of the camp and the village:

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Our houses may have fallen but our mountains still stand tall and proud!

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The local health post which is very badly damaged.

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Must salute the fighting spirit of the locals, within just a few days since the quake, this shop is almost up and ready to serve.

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Rahul, a Singaporean doctor applying stitch to to a lady who lost her husband to the earthquake. The camp saw more than a hundred affected locals within a few hours! Big salute to Dr. Rahul, Dr. Jimmy, Khairul, Geck Ping of the Changi General hospital for flying down to serve the Nepalese people during this time of need!

My hero of the day:

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Mercy Relief Singapore and their local support for the camp, Heart beat Nepal.

Day 2: around Kathmandu

Woke up to a beautiful sunny day, it was as if even the weather was trying to cheer us up. Most of the day today was spent meeting up with MercyRelief Singapore team, who are here with a medical team of doctors and Nurses from Singapore. A big thanks to Rishi Kumar Ghimere too, who helped out a lot with the Mercy Relief team, despite having the responsibility of sister in laws wedding arrangements in a day or too! Also met up with my cousin Sanam Chitrakar of the “Biruwa Ventures”, who is putting aside all their other works and giving their all to the relief efforts coordination works, match making those seeking help with those willing to help. They are also helping out with bringing in medical equipments, relief supplies and many other exemplary works.
Heroes of the day for today:

1. My cousin Sanam Chitrakar and his wife Sabina with their team

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2. Dr. Cil Sakya (Sanam’s friend) from teaching hospital helping out with accessment of supplies that are in acute shortage in the Emergency ward of the Teaching Hospital:

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List of items running short:

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Delivering one lot on the spot. Most items are readily available at the many pharmacies right at the gate of the hospital.

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On a side note, the whole place was filled with a strong stench of unclaimed dead bodies.

3. The students of National college, Baluwatar, who are making momos themselves in the school canteen and selling to raise funds for the earthquake victims. Salute to these young entrepreneurs! And the momoes were super tasty too, if you are in the neighborhood, do drop in.

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