So one week in Kathmandu. Two guest houses, and one children’s home have been our home. Everyday in each location we’ve experienced the Kathmandu dawn chorus of crickets, dogs, cockerel’s, horn beeping traffic and bell ringing at temples – the dogs and crickets really don’t stop all night but they definitely increase as the capital wakes up around 5:30 am.
So what about the earthquake? For the first few days here we honestly didn’t see much evidence of the earth quake. We were taking taxis on main roads and through town but saw very few heaps of rubble or damaged buildings. Before we arrived here we heard alsorts of reports ranging from there’s no problems in Kathmandu to 90% of the buildings were damaged or destroyed so we really didn’t know what to expect The reality is that life in Kathmandu carries on as normal today for probably more than 90% of people. Most of the damaged buildings were cleared quickly and used to “repair” the roads which are a mess. Most people are carrying on now as normal however for those affected by the earthquake life is hard. Many are still living in “temporary” accommodation but to be honest it’s hard to say what is temporary and what was like this before the earthquake. Particularly alongside banks of the rivers you can see many tarpaulin shelters and looking out of the window of the children’s home where we are currently staying there’s one of the better constructed shelters housing around 10 – 12 families. These people are the fortunate ones. Here there seems to be order and a sense of community and it’s comparatively safe and quite compared to the people living under makeshift tents around the extremely busy and polluted ring road. On Wednesday we were taken to the Monkey Temple and yesterday we managed to stumble upon Dunbar square in these locations and in the small lanes of central Kathmandu you can see the power and devastation of the earthquake. These world heritage sites have been seriously and permanently damaged with some bits being completely destroyed and out of Kathmandu in the mountain villages the destruction was huge – we hope we will soon be able to go out there and help somewhere.
In the meantime we have served food to some of Kathmandu’s homeless, shared life with the 14 kids at living orphanage teaching them to croquet, cut hair and speak better English. Eaten with a newly wed film editor and his wife, and also with at newly earthquake widowed 27 year old. We’ve tried most forms of transport – micro bus, bus, taxi and riding pillion and realised the importance of dust masks! We’re slowly getting used to the Nepalese two meal system Dhal Bhat (rice and lentil soup) for breakfast and Dhal Bhat for supper (generally supplemented with some tasty veg curry).
Last night we had the privilege of worshipping in house church. It was just several houses away from the children’s home. A beautiful family with one daughter may be 4 years old and a father who works in a music shop all living in one room that was everything kitchen, bedroom lounge everything apart from bathroom. The bathroom was on the first floor and shared between six families – I am very glad I didn’t need to go!
I think the hardest thing to try to comprehend apart from all the cultural and religious differences is the poverty. It really is mind blowing how people live here. So simple and generally so accepting of their lot in life. Quite hard to understand how things go round at times.
There is so much more I could say but I think that will do for now x