In April 2015, a 7.8 Richter’s magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, not far from Kathmandu valley. So many lost their lives. Even more lost their homes. It was a Saturday afternoon so many people were out. Had it been a few hours earlier or later, so many more would have been killed. Due to the aftershocks it took weeks to understand the magnitude of the devastation. Months before help that was offered was actually distributed – but that is a different (political) story.
Our social business offices were spared, and so was the company crew. Because there was no business, the management decided to turn the tight-operating crew into a rescue team for the first week, before they were sent home to rebuild their dwellings. Our lovely orphans and their caretaker were spared, too, but their house had cracked and was unlivable. Our friends were spared, but their family homes were a shambles.
It is as if Nepali people now view their lives in two parts: before and after the earthquake.
Kirtipur was one of the towns mostly spared. Some say it is because it lies on a single slab of rock. But even Kirtipur was damaged. One of the houses standing in the evening sun has a big gash right alongside it. It is the cracks in the walls that makes a building dangerous; more dangerous than actual visible damage. Fortunately, buildings can be taken apart and repaired. But the earthquake has left cracks in the sturdy Nepalese people, too. Not just because they lost so many material things, but because everyone lost either friends or family, or a means to income, or a part of their cultural heritage, or a part of their own identity.
But the world is not a safe place. We are often just lulled into believing it is, while the truth is that everything changes. With a crack and a boom, sometimes. And nobody I know is better at navigating a challenging environment than the Nepalese.
(Kirtipur, Nepal; November 2016)