Picture Courtesy: Sushil Awale
Gundu is a small village in the district of Bhaktapur behind the Pilot Baba Ashram. It’s a beautiful little village lying on the slope of a mountain. Most of the village was covered with bamboo plants. In the aftermath of the devastating Gorkha Earthquake, Rotaract Club of Patan South decided to volunteer in building shelter homes for the victims in Gundu village.
The houses in the village were far apart, and the village hadn’t been much affected by the earthquake. However, the mud houses had cracks and were dangerous to live in. But, they hadn’t collapsed like the ones in Nagarkot, where I had visited a week ago to distribute relief materials.
The villagers had turned open lands on the slopes of the mountain into terraces for agriculture. And, in one of the terraces, an engineer had laid out the foundations for a bamboo house. He had erected the pillars of strong bamboo stems and completed the framework of the house. Our task was to hammer in the strips of the bamboo stem into the pillars to create the walls of the house.
There were twelve of us, including two Europeans, and one local person. We divided ourselves into groups of two and three, and each group took a side of the house.
Hammering the nails into bamboo stem was difficult than I had expected. The stems were strong and elastic, and if the nail was not hammered in with precision, it would bounce back. A couple of times, I even hammered my fingers. But, the hospitality of would be owners of the house soothed my pain. They served us with lunch in the compound of their ruined house.
One of the foreigners really loved the traditional Nepali food. They had come to Nepal for holidays, but unfortunately, the day they arrived, Nepal welcomed them we the powerful Earthquake. I had feelings of gratitude towards them because instead of leaving the country, they stayed back to volunteer.
At the end of the day, the house was almost complete. We completed the walls of the house and even cut a small window on one of the walls. The roof of the house was left to be installed, but it was the work of skilled personnel.
An old man, who would be the owner of the house, thanked us for our endeavor. Hearing his words, I felt a deep satisfaction in my heart and motivated to come back the next day. The following day some of us returned and hammered the walls of another house as well.