Hope and Resilience

 

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I’ve posted a number of posts since I’ve been in Nepal as a result of the 2 major earthquakes that have occurred here. Those of you that know me will understand how passionate I am, not for the country, but the people that live here and call it there home, and the privilege I have had of sharing so much time with them. Part of me felt the need to be here to support so many friends and colleagues, but also part of me needed to come to look and assess what has been done, is being done and what can be done to help those that have been affected as a result of this. My previous blogs may have painted a dark picture of the events – and the reality is the press have done no favours in portraying the extent of damage and devastation that has occurred, it’s shocking, and it’s not over yet for them, but the press have left so no more story to be told!

However, if any country could rebuild itself its Nepal. Not because of the government or leadership, but because it’s in their nature. They have seen tough times before with civil unrest and uprising in the nation that led to the King being ousted from the monarchy in 2006. As a nation they are used to supporting each other and as a third world nation they could lead by example on this. They are tough, resilient and supportive of each other which is why the Ghurkhas are the best at what they do – it’s in there nature. But, they do need help, and financial help, to recover.
The last blog I posted talked of recovery and asked the question – where do you start? Well we’ve started as a a result of your support.
My good friend Mahendra Thapa has been supplying this area with support since the earthquake and coordinating the international rescue teams before they left, and has gained enough information for us to make a real start. The first funded ‘Nepal Appeal’ project is underway, supported by some of the money you have helped raise so far.

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This picture shows a couple in the Sindhupulchock district near Sukute, that I had the pleasure to meet. He is 101 years old and she is 91 years old. Their home has gone, their livestock buried beneath the rubble, with one son losing a leg and in hospital as a result of the earthquake and another son who is mute. With all of this the inspiring thing is at 101 years old he feels ‘he still has everything to live for.’
On Friday Mahendra and I had identified that this should be our priority and starting point. I confirmed our Nepal Appeal would fund it. Volunteers from Nepal arrived on Friday with me, a lovely lady who specialises in building earthquake resilient houses turned up with her colleague and by Saturday morning the work had started. We needed a new plot on the terrace field above the previous house but needed to dig 1 metre width of and 8 ft. high bank of stand and soil away. Being 35 degrees C it was all about timing. Start at 7.30am and break at 11 am, then restart at 3pm until dusk. The elderly couple watched and were so excited about the prospect of their new home it was infectious. Mahendra and I got stuck in with the team and some rather traditional tools, and by the end of Saturday most of the bank had been cut away.

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Today was an early start for the Kathmandu volunteers who by now were joined by dozens of the neighbouring villages who themselves had lost their own homes, but heard of the rebuilding and got stuck in to help where they could. That’s what’s inspiring in Nepal, the resilience to recover and help each other.

 

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The teacher from the school that we have assisted appeared and remembering my name came and introduced him before grabbing the wheel barrow full of soil. He looked delighted when I confirmed we will be back to rebuild the fallen school later in the year. After the previous days devastation it was just so inspiring to see the spirit within them. This morning the project also got a visit form the former Prime minister and a current MP who came to the site for an inauguration and mark the official rebuild of the area.

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So our fund raising efforts are being put to real use on the ground, I can’t explain the joy and gratitude on the couples faces when they knew a new home was a a reality – and you made that happen by raising the first funds – thank you so much. This is just one of the projects we aim to support as there are hundreds of homes to rebuild and dozens of schools that will need rebuilding.

It’s hard to describe the last few days, distress, emotional, devastation. However, that’s not what I see now. Now I see a nation ready to rebuild itself and we can make a real difference by doing two things – raising funds to finance the many homes and communities that have been affected and placing these funds directly to the communities that need it, and secondly by returning to Nepal and supporting the tourism industry.
They need our help, and this is a long term solution that will need support for months into the future . As many of you know we have a host of fund raising events through the next few months starting with our open day on the 31st where I’ll be showing film footage of the devastation in Nepal but also the rebuild and the first funded project. In the meantime the work you have paid for has started on the ground and my colleagues in Nepal will update us regularly on the results of this work. We’re even hoping our first funded home may be completed by the open day, and a ‘Nepal Appeal’ plaque to mark the support you have given.

If you want to help in any way then please get in touch – £700 can sponsor someone’s whole home or help rebuild part of a school. During the week I’ll be posting details of the type of homes and earthquake designs that are being used and how you, your company or your school could put your name to rebuilding someone’s life in Nepal.

 

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We are supporting real people in real communities and can make a massive difference. To finish my trip I took a swing by my ‘other local’, in Kathmandu. No Tourists in site and talking to most of the staff, they have no homes to go back to, but they seemed so pleased to see me. I’m not sure whether that’s the fact we are fund raising or just solidarity in being here and telling them we will support them and will be back.
For now, its Namaste to my friends, stay strong and safe, until next time, and for those following back home, I hope to see you at the open day! Help us help Nepal, by joining with the events, with all proceeds going to the charity, and directly into projects on the ground.
Ant

For full appeal and charity details go to www.nepalappeal.com

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