I will keep this blog post brief since we’ve already barraged everyone we know with shameless fundraising requests regarding earthquake relief work in Nepal. We’d like to extend a very big THANK YOU to everyone who donated, we raised a whopping $6,000! (Here’s the link again, just in case you are feeling charitable! All Hands Fundraising)
We loved our time volunteering despite the cold showers, dorm living and reoccurring threat of bed bugs. For three weeks, six days a week, we removed rubble from people’s property. In most cases that rubble, whether it was rocks, bricks or wood, was once a family’s home. While the work itself may have been mindless (certainly repetitive), it was also satisfying and rewarding. There’s something to be said for seeing the fruit of one’s labor. The work we did was visible each day in both the ever-growing stack of bricks pulled from the debris and the appreciation that families showed us. Some family members even pitched in and worked alongside us.
On our days off we saw monkey temple, witnessed religious cremations along the Bagmati river and were disappointed to find many ancient temples in shambles, ruined by the earthquake. We strolled through random sections of Kathmandu and commented on how the fuel crisis changed the city in the short time since we arrived. India more or less instituted an oil embargo on Nepal. The results are 1970’s like gas lines that stretch for miles and people packed into, or on top of, buses like sardines. Cooking oil is also hard to come by, which took momos (our favorite Nepali snack) off most menus. The situation is serious, one local thought the fuel shortage was more devastating than the earthquake.
As much as we enjoyed volunteering and getting to know the hardworking, passionate group of international All Hands volunteers, we were in Nepal, home of Everest. We would be remiss to leave without seeing the mountains. So after our three weeks of rubbling was complete, we headed to the bus station and boarded one of those buses that packed people in like sardines. Next stop, the Himalayas…