Here we have Experiences shared by Nabanil Sanyal, Sewa Volunteer from Kolkata
Travelling to Dholakha district nearly 10 days after the second quake struck Nepal and supposedly the epicenter of the successive quakes, was all too tensed to see the level of destruction. Having traveled to Gorkha days before had an idea of what epicenter region can endure. 150 kms from Kathmandu the 13 ton truck took close to 10 hrs to reach Charikot close to the Gaurishankar range of the Himalaya. As we traveled close to the epicenter we could see not even a single house spared. A tourist destination for travelers, we saw hotels now being used as army camps and locals on road searching for a safe place to spend nights.
Mother clearing debris and small kids helping send a deep shiver down the spine, people seemed to be clearing way for the hard days ahead. Relief teams were seen here and there with food and tarpaulin for the affected.
The proximity to Chinese border and away from the main land Dholakha has certain places where road travel was completely cut-off and termed risky as hills developed cracks. Indian Air force helicopters were seen to airlift relief materials all day long every day. The roar of the helicopters soothed the pain of destruction by assuring relief.
The unloading of 9 ton rice 3 ton dal and 50 bundles of tirpal with the local people and seeing kids also helping the act was one of my most fulfilling experiences to realize I am actually in action to serve the destitute. Successive dispatch of the unloaded material to many Village Development Committees and me accompanying one truck load to one of them of 200 houses filled my senses of existence and being useful in the mission to serve selflessly.
The people actually stunned me with their resilience and their smile of receiving relief filled me with the reason to come some 1500 odd kms from Kolkata to serve my fellow neighbors. People were happy to receive the materials and happily shared whatever they were provided with.
The next day we went to a village with a small truck load of 500 kgs rice and 240 kgs of dal and some tarpaulin and noodles, milk, blankets etc. as relief on a bike of a person who helped us unload the previous day and found out he is serving Nepal Army and has come to his village as it has completely been destructed including his house. Portion of the hill of his village had a landslide, visible cracks were seen which will be risky as monsoon sets in.
After yet another trip to a village in the afternoon, we went ahead for the relief distribution to the most remote ward of Dholakha district Jhyankhu ward 7 by road. On the way Rain-God wished to test our perseverance and we fought to save the food with all of our will by acting quick to use the tarpaulin for relief to cover the truck. Holding it for nearly one hour against rough wind and rain before it seized and the truck helper could tie the cover. An over loaded truck, steep roads, trees fallen here and there, we travelled with one thing ‘people awaits what we are carrying‘. With 3 of my fellow volunteers, we pushed the truck, unloaded half materials mid way, waited in pitch dark roads with the materials before the truck came down to fetch us unloading the rest higher up the mountain, we still couldn’t reach our destination that night. Slept in a tent made by some organization for health camps in a school premise at a cliff. We started again the next day morning. The car failed by it brakes, It was impossible to reach the destination. The locals came for the support with carrying all the materials to our destination to hear our guys speak and distribute officially. People forgot their political affiliations to help the needy and that’s how humanity won.
Meanwhile, that night in Jungu, fighting to save our tent from rain and heavy wind for 1 hour and then able to sleep in that tent proved that no turmoil stays for long and everything passes was a great learning experience.
Serving nearly 1000 houses with the supplied material with a team of 6-10 people from Charikot, the main observation from the stay made me realize that the even after losing their house worth 5 lacks to 15 lacks each family, they were upbeat to continue life by building their homes from the left over of the broken houses, not waiting for relief and fending for themselves and the smile at their faces even during hardships proved to me that the willpower to live has won all the battles.
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