Whenever disasters strike, like the tsunami, or hurricane Katrina or the earthquake in Haiti, I have a sense of guilt over how relieved I am not to be there. I watch the images of people’s shattered lives play out on a TV screen and I am so thankful that my family is safe. That my loved ones are ok and I don’t have to wonder if my sister alive or if my father is under a pile of rubble.
If I had been in Nepal a few weeks later, my family would have had to wonder those horrible things. I could have been buried under that rubble. I could have been trapped in chaos.
No country and no person deserves a natural disaster, but honestly I have a hard time imagining a place that could deserve it less then the beautiful mountain kingdom of Nepal. A country plagued by so many years of unrest, corruption, violence and bleak poverty. Still, with all that- the people are so proud of their country. Over and over again Nepali people would tell me how the world only has 14 peaks over 8000 meters and 8 of those are in Nepal. They always said it proudly, making sure I knew I was somewhere special. They would talk about the temples that people across the world came to see because Nepali people know that their country, despite its problems, is still one of the most beautiful places on earth.
and now its laying in ruins
All the temples I walked through in Kathmandu were in the last days of their lives. None of us knew that we would be some of the last visitors to set eyes on them.
I keep thinking of all the Nepali people I met. The women who cooked my food, the men who kept admonishing us to walk slower at the high altitiudes. Are they alive? Are they one of 3700 dead?
I’ve heard from all the people I still know in Nepal except for our guide. I wrote before about how awesome he was, with a masters in sociology and anthropology, saving to be a Ph.D student, quoting E.E cummings and Milton at us and getting wildly competitive with us when it came to card games. He was a good friend
and I have no idea if he is ok or not
This isn’t a blog post with an actual point – its just one for mourning. Over 3700 lives. I can’t even wrap my mind around such a loss. Countless injuries, the loss of so many ancient temples, the loss of industry in a country that depends on tourism to stay alive…. Its heartbreaking.
I never really know how to deal with things like this except to pray. I realize many people find that strange and pointless and I’m sure it probably offends somebody, but its the tradition I was raised in and one of the few things a person can do in a time like this. So I pray, I pray that the hungry people find food and that homeless find shelter, I pray that the world responds and sends real aid to the country, I pray that the grieving people find comfort and hope, I pray that the Nepali people know they are not alone and they are not forgotten.
I pray that my friend is safe.
Of course the other useful thing people can do is to send money. I tend to be fond of Oxfam in that I feel they use funds most effectively and ethically. If I find a way to support the people I know I’m sure I will be sharing that.