12 May 2015 – a day I wouldn’t forget for the rest of my life.
“Didi, where are we going today” I asked my caretaker, Didi Vratiisha the headmaster of the school I was volunteering at in India. We were in Nepal to help with whatever we can after the first earthquake. I managed to fund raise about $1000 and and we brought in relief goods from India. “They say Sindhupalchok Rayyan, have you packed?” she asked me. “Oh, my clothes are still on the rooftop, I’ll go get them and then we can get going” I said and went up to get my stuff.
I came down and put the rest of my clothing in my backpack. “Didi, Mona, lets go, I am ready!” I shouted while putting on my shoes. Just I was about to pick my bag up, the earth started rattling, I didn’t realise what was going on until I heard a women shouting “RUN!” We ran and kept falling down, as I was running I could still remember this loud unfathomable rattling noise behind me. We ran out to the nearest open space, far away from any building. My heart was palpitating, my brain had unimaginable thoughts – I couldn’t comprehend what was happening.
The earthquake moved violently below our feet, far in the distance dust covering the horizon indicating that buildings have collapsed in those area; eerie screams of help and panic filled the air. It was a school day, frantic mothers running to their children’s school just moments after the first earthquake stopped. The earth kept moving in the next hours, shaking the ground three more times sending children running to their mother’s arms, humbling me to the ground with nothing but prayer and hopes that it will all stop.
Just two minutes before the 7.3 Nepal second earthquake, I was on the 3rd floor of the house. At exactly 12.51pm,the earthquake hit Nepal followed by a 5.6 earthquake 12 minutes later and another 6.3 earthquake just 31 minutes after the very first big one. It was the longest 30 minutes of our lives at that very small patch of ground. Soon afterwards, the men of the families started arriving home running to the arms of their family assuring them that everything will be alright.
As the evening approaches, tents were erected, people started going into their houses gathering their belongings. We took the chance to go down to the town of Baktapur, along the walk down we saw fresh new crack on the houses and road that weren’t there before the second earthquake. As we got down, we heard a chaos at the main road, a building had collapsed and crashed onto another building. From what I was told, there was a possibility that five people are underneath the rubble. The road was filled with people who were still scared to go back into their houses especially those whose houses are very near to the building that just collapsed.
We stayed in the tent for the next three days before flying back to Kolkata, India. Before we left, we held a small clinic at our host place before marking the rest of the medicine so that our other team member staying put can bring it to the medical camp that we couldn’t go to.
From the first day of the earthquake, I was given the chance to report back news to my home country in Malaysia – I would like to thank the people at Lite.Fm , Ikim.Fm , Traxx.Fm as well as Buletin Utama (the national tv news in Malaysia) for connecting us in Nepal to the world. You can hear my interview with Lite.Fm here:
The experience humbled me as a human being, I came as an outsider thinking that I was going to help them instead I was helped to understand the true meaning of resilient and survival. Nepal, you will rise up again! To those interested to volunteer in Nepal, All Hands Volunteer is accepting volunteers, apply here. For those wanting to donate to Nepal, I suggest that you make monetary donation to big NGOs because Nepal needs money to start rebuilding their lives, consider making a donation to Project Nepal
To Krishna Kafle and family, my heartfelt grateful gratitude for sheltering us while we were volunteering and during the earthquake – you guys are my family! To everyone praying for my safety throughout, thank you. To my Mom, thank you for not contacting the Malaysian Embassy to get me out the minute after, but no seriously thank you for keeping a positive and supportive attitude throughout my Nepal journey!
I want to thank every single one of you who donated to my The Volunteer Cook Nepal Mission, I owe you guys a million appreciation for making my mission a success. Because of you, we managed to give away 150 tarpaulins so that people can have temporary shelter, over 6000 pieces of women sanitary pads, crucial medicine and medical supplies as well as food.