How could I possibly find the words to write about Nepal? The scale of devastation is staggering. Less than six months ago we were standing in some of the spots that were hardest hit -Langtang Village and Kyanjin Gompa do not exist anymore, completely destroyed. We have pictures of beautiful places that have now been reduced to a pile of bricks...
I've never met a traveler who's been in Nepal and didn't fall for this country, its atmosphere, landscapes, spirit and, over all, its people.
My friend Thierry went there once, and made Nepal his second home. He met wonderful people there. Iswor is a young, ambitious Nepali, who's got a real lust for life. He lived in the country side, then moved to Kathmandu when he was 16. Let me tell you more about this fearless boy and his incredible life in Nepal...
Thierry's story in Nepal
Thierry is Belgian. He is a personal assistant for tetraplegic person, and shares his time between England, India and Nepal. He first came to Nepal to renew his Indian visa. He surely didn't expect this fortnight formality to be a life-changing experience.
He was unaware that he was about to meet people who will take a very important place in his life. Once he came across Iswor, he quickly forgot his plan to leave the country. He decided to stay and live among Iswor's family in a small village, perched in the middle of the mountains, near Gorkha. He is now part of the family.
Iswor's bold life
Pregnant with him, his mother was working in the fields when she started the labor. She just had enough time to reach the school of the village, to give birth there. Sounds like being born in a school gave Iswor predispositions. All his life, he dreamed to leave the village and go study in Kathmandu.
He spent his childhood in the village, sharing his time between school and housework, helping his parents with the livestock. One day, he saw his mother fighting against a tiger -this rascal wanted to eat the cows! The wild jungle has always been his playground. He loves to climb on the trees, jump, hike... Thus, he knows a lot about the surrounding nature -which plant is good for medicine, which one for cooking... He's truly passionate about it.
After primary school, he went to the school of the valley. He had to climb the mountain up and down every day to go to high school. Then, when he was 16, he decided to leave the village for Kathmandu. He got many different jobs, often hard and badly paid, but thanks to his courage and determination, he managed to rent a room and go to university. He lives with his sister who, in return, takes care of the place, cooks and takes sewing lessons.
Today, Iswor is a 20 year old well experienced waiter and a 2nd year university student in business and management. After years in miserable conditions, he finally lives in a proper room, with brick walls. He wakes up every morning around 5:30 am to go to school from 6:30 am to 11 am, then goes to the city center to start his shift in a bar at noon. He serves food, drinks and chicha, and does the shopping. At 9:30 pm, the day is still not over yet, he has to walk for an hour to get home, since there are no buses at night. When he finds the energy, he takes some time to study before going to bed... And again the next day.
This was his life before the earthquake.
On the 24th April 2015...
When the Earth shook, Iswor was at work, at the bar, upstairs. He rushed downstairs, caught a terrified little girl on the way, and hurried outside. He was a hundred meters from Durbar Square. As the buidings collapsed around him, Iswor did all he could to help the people in the square. Everyone was panicked.
They waited for the Earth to stop moving, and then ran to rescue the survivors, digging in the debris with their hands to extricate people -most of the time dead bodies. When they had the chance to find someone alive, they had to left them in the street, in front of an overwhelmed hospital.
Today, Iswor is back in his home village. He wants to spend some precious time with his family and friends. At the village, kids are pretty traumatized by the numerous earthquakes, and don't dare to leave their parents yet. Everyone is shocked. It's hard to sleep when you don't know if it's over yet... or if there is another earthquake to come.
Iswor's family is safe -except some broken arms. Some of the houses are severely damaged though. The villagers estimate their houses unsafe or too damaged, so they have set up an emergency camp. The rain season is coming and might not help.
how to help the village
The villagers need support for the reconstruction, and to give support to others who have been more affected. Your help is precious, and no amount is too small to show that you care.
Thierry has created a donation platform to assure every penny you donate won't get lost in the immense process of humanitarian aid, and go directly in the villagers' hands.
I've just had Iswor online today. He is very affected by the support he receives every day and says thank you. THANK YOU. May all of your support help them win back their smiles. May all beings be happy again…