Post Earthquake

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I have struggled with my blog following the earthquakes here, but now as I contemplate my holiday, in a few weeks time back home to the UK, I have decided to get back into it.

So much has already been written about what it feels like to be in an earthquake. What I find more challenging is the frustration and despair, living through the now, over 400 aftershocks that have taken place on a daily basis.

VSO Team at the Futsal tournament - 16mins before the first quake struck

VSO Team at the Futsal tournament – 16mins before the first quake struck.

Inaccessible routes back home

Inaccessible routes back  to damaged homes.

Our shelter for 4 days being erected.

Our shelter for 4 days being erected.

Fun with Granny and Babu.

Camping fun with Granny and Babu.

I have resided to categorising these aftershocks into those that feel like the earth has had a big fart, or those that feel like a bubbling cauldron, those feeling like an almighty shake of a cocktail flask and so on.  It seems that just when you feel the aftershocks are dwindling, a big one comes along to reassure you that you cannot let your guard down.

Only damage in my flat, embarassingly alcohol bottles.

Only damage in my flat, embarrassingly broken alcohol bottles.

 Landlord's garden office shelter for our neighbours.

Landlord’s garden office shelter for our neighbours.

Nothing stops Pramila cooking and feeds us all delicious Newari food.

Nothing stops Pramila cooking and feeds us all delicious Newari food.

Local festivities unaffected.

Local festivities unaffected.

I am thankful that I have been able to adjust, I am not so scared anymore and wonder what it would be like to be on stable ground back in the UK.  But many of my Nepali friends do not have the luxury to take a break from all this, especially now that the monsoon season is upon us, with the threats of landslides, particularly in those areas that have already suffered so much devastation.

Which brings me write about how inspired I have been by particularly, the Nepali youth here in Kathmandu.  They were the first to take action with the relief work.  They are a magnification of the resourcefulness and kind hearted qualities that I already witnessed with the majority of the Nepalis. In addition, my previous ‘showing my age’, sceptism about social media has been overturned.   Facebook has made it easier for people to connect and coordinate activity.  At this point I want to commend the efforts of the countless collectives such as, to name a couple, the Yellow House collective and Believers.  Led by inspiring, unassuming individuals, these groups are not even formal Non Government Organisations, charities or any such entity,  just phenomenally altruistic people, creatively collaborating together for a common cause.  My Utopia.  These volunteers self financed and were able to distribute aid to some of the most remote areas that the machination of government and the donor community appeared to ignore.   Thankfully these collectives are exiting relief work, as the disaster rebuild phase kicks in and government and donors get working.

Yellow House volunteer co-ordination

Yellow House volunteer co-ordination

Sunset at Yellow House

Sunset at Yellow House

Clearing rubble in Sankhu (one of the heavily affected districts).

Clearing rubble in Sankhu (one of the heavily affected districts).

More Sankhu rubble clear out.

More Sankhu rubble clear out.

The earthquake final damage and loss count has currently been estimated as follows:

  • 8,844 confirmed deaths

  • 8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance

  • 14 most-affected districts

  • 598,401 houses destroyed and 283,585 damaged

  • Assessments indicate that over 35,000 classrooms have been destroyed directly affecting more than 1 million children

The Nepali people appear resilient and determined to bounce back. New homes and schools should eventually be built, fulfilling the actual community requirements, but in the meantime, people have to manage, despite the hardship and inconvenience, in their temporary shelters and classrooms.

In Kathmandu, life has pretty much returned to normal.  Even my landlords have joined me back into our home after weeks of them camping out in the garden office, along with the neighbours and only me in the house.  My office at the Ministry of Education got back to business as usual, almost straight away.  Although the adjacent Prime Minister’s office has been badly damaged.

Opportunity for a clear out at the Ministry of Education.

Opportunity for a clear out at the Ministry of Education.

More post earthquake office clear out.

More post earthquake office clear out.

Prime Minister's Office

Prime Minister’s Office

Damaged Prime Minister's Office

Damaged Prime Minister’s Office

I am hopeful that the amazing volunteerism, community spirit and social consciousness can be harnessed for the power of good in the country’s future political leadership.

Finally, to my family and friends, who were planning to visit, please do still come.  Thankfully the UK has relaxed its Nepal travel restrictions and below is a great infographic putting the damage into perspective in a country so heavily reliant on the income from tourism now more than ever.  After all, who would not want to experience a bit of shaking in the their lives, in a beautiful surrounding.

Nepal open to tourists.

Nepal open to tourists.

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About Daphne

I’m Daphne, normally live in Vauxhall, London. I am blogging to keep track of my adventures. After volunteering for 3 years with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), in Nepal, at the Ministry of Education in Kathmandu, I am now in Tanzania, volunteering with VSO on a Youth Economic Empowerment Project.

18 responses »

  1. To our brave darling daughter so glad to see you writing your long awaited blog again. Well done my girl !. Continuing to prayer for your safety and counting the days (21 days) to your arrival back home. Dad and I are so very very proud of you. Love you. Mum & Dad xxx

    • To Daphne congratulation, what a wonderful job you are doing even though you are not safe yet. Never stopped praying for you and the people of Nepal. Going with Caroline to Shirley in Spain tomorrow but will see you when you come to England. All my family send their love. Keep up the good the good work. Love and safe journey home Olgqxxx

      • Thank you A)Olga. Looks like the weather in Spain hotter than here, have a fabulous, well deserved holiday. Loves to all and see you (hopefully) in London. x

  2. Daphne Dee, you’re the bestest – only matched by your spirited contribution to the VSO and your fascinating, painstakingly-put-together, blogs. Can’t wait to see you! Lolaks, Ron & Juliette

    • Thank you Ronnie, sorry it has been ages since I posted. Thank you for signing up to reading them. Look forward to relaying verbal stories to you very soon. Loves to the family.

  3. It was a real pleasure to meet you in Nepal, Daphne. Thanks for all your work on behalf of Nepal. We at VSO are also extremely proud of what you’ve achieved and what you continue you to do. Look forward to meeting you again soon. Best wishes. Philip Goodwin (CEO VSO)

    • Thank you Philip, great to have met you too and a personal thank you to VSO for giving me one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Hopefully catch up in Kingston soon. Best.

  4. Daphne, great to see you have started blogging again and very moving account and pictures. I haven’t deluged you with emails as the jungle telegraph has kept me updated on your safety. Hope to see you when you are over.
    Lots of love
    Stephen, Debbie, Jules and Max

    • Thanks and for following Stephen. Hope you are keeping well, bush telegraph sure is active. Hopefully see you mid your holidays too. Have a well deserved break. x

  5. Hi Daphne,
    Thank you for such an inspiring post and so good to hear from you. An Enterprise class – ‘ESOL – Are you Ready to Start your Business? ‘ at Morley raised £52.00 for the Nepal DEC Earthquake appeal back in May 2015 through a fundraising event where they offered their business services in return for a small donation. Thanks for the update and have a good journey back to the UK – Best wishes, Sara.

    • Hi Sara,
      Nice to hear from you and how wonderful to hear about the Morley fundraising, sounds like it was a fun event. Maybe see you on my visit if I am by Waterloo, I will be sure to pop in. Best Daphne

  6. Hi Daphne it is great to read of positive action happening. Humans are so resilient in the face of disaster. Glad you are safe. Enjoy your time back home. Toria x

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