Wed, 07 Jun, 2023

Earthquake Victims And Freezing Cold II

By Ashmita Thapa

Picture Credit: This is a continuation of the interview that DWIT news team carried out among the Earthquake victims camping on Pasang Lamhu Sadak, Chuchepati last week. We went to the same place again and decided to interview a few more people and find out more details about their journey. Prakash Gurung, 55 Q) Tell us where you are from and with whom did are you staying with currently? I’m originally from Dhading. I came here with my wife about 5 years ago. Before the earthquake, we rented a room at Gongabu. The building where we stayed at was cracked so much that I could not put myself and my wife at risk and live there. We decided to come here and set up camp temporarily until we found another place to rent. <> on August 13, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Q) So you were not planning on staying here for so long then? What happened? For so long after we came here, the ground was still shaking every day. My wife used to be so frightened that she could not sleep for days. I tried comforting her but to no avail. She told me to stop looking for a room because she was afraid a bigger earthquake would hit and she thought we would be much safer here. Due to certain circumstances, I couldn’t keep my old job. I do 2-3 temporary jobs to provide for my wife and myself. I don’t like to tell people about all the personal struggles we had to face then but we are slowly saving up money and hopefully, we won’t be stuck here for much longer. Q) How hard was it to adapt to this new surrounding and lifestyle? I think it was more difficult for my wife than it was for me. She loved to do house work. She loved to take care of her home. The way we are living right now, it’s not very homely. She struggled a lot at the beginning. She would not stop crying and praying to the gods to make it stop and end our suffering. It was during these hard times that the people around us helped us tremendously. Everyone here support each other with everything. It almost feels like everyone here is family. We have gotten very close to a few of our neighbors. We would all gather around a fire during the evening and get to know each other. We’ve heard all their stories of survival and we resonate with each and every one in some sense. We’ve all experienced loss and it’s the support that we give each other that helped us get to this point. <> on August 13, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Binita Shrestha , 40 Riya Shrestha, 12 Q) Where are you from? When did you come to Kathmandu? I am from Arughat, Gorkha. I came to Kathmandu with my family so that my husband would get a better paying job and my daughter would get an opportunity to acquire quality education. I want my daughter to become a doctor and lead a satisfactory life ahead. We came to Kathmandu almost 10 years ago. The house where we were staying in Balaju was destroyed by the earthquake. Most of our savings went into treating my husband’s heart problems. Treatment and medication these days are cruelly expensive for an ordinary family like ours. That is why we are compelled to live here until we have saved up some money to rent another room for the three of us. Q) Riya, where are you studying currently? I have been studying in Mahendra Adarsha Madhyamik Vidhyalaya, in the 6th grade. Binita: When we moved here, we had to switch schools because we could not afford to send her to a public school anymore. Her current school is very crowded and not managed properly but it’s the best we can afford at the moment. She works very hard and studies well. I’m very proud of her. She has a bright future ahead. Q)  Are people here still scared? Yes absolutely. Rumors never die off do they? There are a lot of people here who believe in superstition. Every day there is a new rumor that another big earthquake is going to hit very soon. Fear has not gone away. Right now, it’s a very stable environment that we are living in. We get provided with food and water and sanitation. However, I know it’s not going to be this way forever. There will come a time when we will have to look after ourselves. This is what we should be scared of. We shouldn’t worry about what god has in store for us. Q) Do you ever think about going back to your village? How is the situation there? When we moved to Kathmandu, we sold our house and property that we had in Gorkha. So even if I wanted to return, there is nothing there to return to. I haven’t visited my village for 3 years now so I don’t know what the situation there is. Interview was conduction by joint contribution of Shibesh Duwadi and Ashmita Thapa.