Nar Bahadur and his wife live in a small community called Lamtar. When the earthquake hit they both stood by and watched their home collapse in on itself. As time went on they tried to recover the belongings they had left inside and used government aid to build themselves a temporary home. Being too old to work and with no family to support them, 10 months past before All Hands were able to reach the couple and offer them help. I was part of the team that got to meet the couple and work towards clearing the site of their collapsed home. It took us 3 tiring but very rewarding days of rubbling.
A typical rubbling day would be spent separating the rocks from the dirt where the homes mud and stone walls had collapsed. We would create a designated rock pile, and build a retaining wall to house (what always felt like a never-ending supply) of rocks. The home owners would also give us an area to dump the excess dirt.
In Nar Bahadurs case, as with many of the beneficiaries, he had underestimated just how much rock and dirt would be cleared from his home. As these piles normally went on the homeowners land and in this case the space was very limited, the rock pile unfortunately had to go on his vegetable patch, and the dirt onto the road to help even out the pot holes.
At the end of the rubbling stage we would then spend sometime levelled the ground for the couple so they had a clean slate to rebuild on. As we were clearing the last few rocks from the ground Dai (the name Nepalis use for older brother) came over and got very emotional and thankful over the work we had completed.
Many of the Nepalis are very grateful of our work, as most are unable to do the rubbling themselves and some are too scared they will loose out on the promised $2000 of government funding if they are seen to do the work themselves. (The funding is to support the rebuild of a new home). Often in thanks they would offer us grand meals and local wine in celebration, many get teary and tell us their earthquake stories, some of which are too hard to listen to.
This couple however didn’t have a lot of money but did offer us chicken curry for lunch. Chicken is one of the more expensive meats in the village and serving it to us was their way of showing us their thanks. Pushpinder spoke Hindi and could translate a little for us as they told us their plans to grow crops on the newly levelled land before building a new home. (Their new home will be built using the left over rocks). Most Nepalis consider it good luck to grow at least one cycle of crops on the land before building upon it.
This was just one couple out of the many I had the pleasure of visiting and helping. But the longer my time in Nepal the more apparent it was that there were hundreds maybe even thousands of families that had been untouched by aid and were also unlikely to be reached by us.
To support the project I’ve been working on click here to visit my Just Giving page. You can also find out more about All Hands and the work they are doing across the world by viewing the All Hands website.