It was 25th of April when Nepal was hit by a heavy earthquake of 7.8Mw.
I personally had never felt any of the earthquake, being in Madhya Pradesh at that very time i didn’t felt the vibes of this earthquake either. Because of the isolation of the village i was in, i was unaware of the disaster that was in nepal.
On 25th night we were suppose to be in our base camp (Baghdara – Bandhavgarh) that is surrounded by jungle. On our way we saw that there was fire in jungle and which was very closed to our base camp. At that very moment we saw a jeep running towards us and saw it was our company head driving that jeep. He asked “what happened” we replied “aag lagi h jungle me”, he without a thought replied “to chalo bujhate hai”..! For me it was a great gesture to hear the solution so instantly.
Initially we had no clue how to stop the fire that was about to get bigger, but we were lucky enough to see the sand of a river bed that was probably because of the river that used to flow years back. So we took off our t-shirts and loaded sand in it and threw it on the fire, after half an hour of struggle we were finally able to get rid of the fire. Personally i never did something like this, so it was something that made me feel strong and happy.!
Post this we came to know about the severity of the Nepal Earthquake. The organization i work in also has a wing that deals with disaster management and so they decided to send rescue team to nepal. I was also the part of that team.!
With limited resources and what all preparation was possible, we ( a team of 6) left for nepal. It took us almost 28 hours by road to reach Nepal Border (Senouli) and then straight away we left for the most affected area in Nepal. From local resources we came to know that Gorkha district is the most affected one and Ranchok is the village which has 100% house damage and it was very close to the Barpak (Earthquake Epicenter).
We halted in a place called Chunaute. It was late night in a camp with heavy rain and thunder when i experienced the first earthquake ever. It was a mild 30 second earthquake. Though it was a light one but as we say the first experience is the first.!
Next morning we were suppose to leave for Ranchok, but because of the heavy rain there were landslides and roads were down, and therefore we were suppose to trek almost 20 km to reach Ranchok. We left for Ranchok at 10 am, taking just the basic necessities like, camps, first aid kits, few packets of maggi, a bag full of chana, and other basic things. We didn’t carry all our stuff as it would be difficult for us to carry them on a long trek.
We reached Baluwa at around 2 pm. There were devastated houses, few rescue camps, people living in temporary shelter, long lines for the relief material. Met different people from US, Poland, Michigan etc who have came to Baluwa to help people in any way they can. Then i realized, Skills are very important to work in a situation like this, but at the end It is the Heart that is important. Why would a person from US who was in India for holidays decided to help Nepal earthquake victims? The Volunteers who were from different places were the source of real inspiration for me.
The trek after baluwa was more tiring as it was uphill, and we were already exhausted walking for 13 km with sun shining brighter than ever. All the houses we saw in this trek were down, not even a single house was un-affected by the hit. During this trek i thought of treating everyone with a smile and saying Namaste as i knew how would one feels who had lost his/her home and thought a smile could help them to feel little better. To my surprise i got a response each localites smiling back and saying Namaste 🙂
Finally after 8 hours of total trek, we reached Ranchok (Closest village to Barpak). As soon as we reached there we pitched in our camp in the school and interacted with the local villagers.
Traveling in nepal from last 3 days i found that the people living in the places like Ranchok were more helpful and soft-hearted, though they din’t had enough food for themselves they always offered us food. Though we din’t had it because we knew they needed it the most. And i am glad that we met few guys who can speak hindi, nepali, and the local village language too.! We were also offered two blankets because we din’t had any sleeping bags and it was damn cold there, so we took it.
Next morning we installed the first aid camp and started giving medical aid to the villagers. Majority of people in Ranchok were suffering from Diarrhea, Cold, Dry Cough. We went to the village side to give basic medicines and first aid to the people who had wounded themselves when the earthquake had hit.
Two days after we came, a group of MBBS nepali students came to Ranchok and started medical camp. Even after they came, people used to visit us and ask for medicines. I wondered why people don’t go to MBBS Students ? Till some one told me that its not just the medicine that cures, but it also the Care.! Then i get it, we used to talk with villagers, laugh, smile, listen ( Though we always had a translator 😉 ) and those were the things that attracted them.!
We stayed for almost 6 days in Ranchok, experienced 5-6 earthquakes, interacted through actions ( though we learnt a bit of Nepali), Ate chana for all 6 days till the second team came with some Maggi, cured almost 300 people, distributed relief material and many other things that can’t be expressed or said.!
While returning from Ranchok, i had a heavy heart to carry.! While trekking down, i was wondering what all things i would be missing, Early morning voices asking for “Aushadhi”. A small girl Pushpa who always used to come along her sister Sanju for little Soframycin that could heal acne on her face and stayed for hours. The frozen himalayas view from our camp, the hot/cold at same time (sunlight that was hot but if you are in a shed you need a jacket). The people, the village, in short everything.! People asking me Dai you Nepali ? I used to reply “Nai Dai… Idian Chhau… Garhwali.. :)”
To be very honest i came to Nepal with a different thought, where people must have been crying and feeling very low.! But the spirit of the people there was remarkable. They taught us how to be at peace even though the world around them has fallen apart.!!
I pray for all those people who had lost their lives and lost their ones.! May their soul rest in peace and others get the strength to overcome this disaster.! I wish that we never ever experience this kind of natural calamities.!
Get well soon Nepal.!!