thoughts

Sending you love, Nepal

I was saddened to read about the earthquake in Nepal. I spent about a month in the beautiful country in 2002 and till today, I have fond memories of the people and the place.

Despite language barriers, the people are warm and friendly. They try their best to make you feel at home.

This lady is the wife of the owner of the guesthouse that I was putting up at. Her husband was an ex-Gurkha who worked in Singapore previously. When he was done, he went back to Nepal and set up the guesthouse.

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She spoke no English and I spoke no Nepalise. Our conversations were limited to “yes”, “no”, “good” and most importantly, “eat”. But she exuded warm hospitality throughout my stay and I was a little sad when it was time to leave.

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As I was backpacking, I met many locals, including these adorable children. Again, they couldn’t speak much English except for “sweet?” I remember wishing that I had bags and bags of sweets for them. They happily posed for pictures, and was intrigued by my film SLR. Yes, film. This explains the grainy picture quality that you see in this blog post because these are actual pictures that I scanned (a long time ago).

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I took this picture from a cafe overlooking Durbar Square in the capital city of Kathmandu. It is just one of seven (seven!!) groups of monuments in Kathmandu Valley . Today, it looks like this:

gty_durbar_square_after_kb_150427_16x9_608[source]

It is heartbreaking, to say the least.

My heart goes out to all affected by the tragedy and hope that aid reaches them in time. This is a good article about why one should not be rushing to Nepal to help. Many have good intentions but in our haste to do so, may end up hindering or even impede the process.

Best thing to do now (if you wish to do something) is to donate cash to a reputable organisation. Do your research and choose one that you feel comfortable with. Here are three, amongst many others:

  • Save the Children’s Nepal Earthquake Children’s Relief Fund – A response team of 24-emergency specialists, including a medical team, had been dispatched to assess humanitarian needs. He specifically emphasized the importance of distributing clean drinking water to prevent water-borne diseases in a country that already had low sanitation standards. They are also distributing hats and blankets for babies, as many families are living on the streets because of the fear of aftershocks. Also, 10% of funds are going to preparations for future disasters.
  • Red Cross’ Nepal Earthquake Relief – The Red Cross has committed an initial $300,000 of aid as well as 19,000 non-food relief kits which include clothes, kitchen sets, tarpaulins and mosquito nets. “We do not yet know the scope of damage … People will need considerable support including food, water, medical care and emergency shelter,” said Jagan Chapagain, the director for the International Federation of Red Cross Asia-Pacific said on Sunday via the organization’s website.
  • World Vision Singapore (via PayPal Singapore) – PayPal will cover all costs associated with donations to World Vision for the earthquake over the next 14 days, till 13th May 2015, ensuring that 100% of your contribution will be sent to relief efforts.

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Sending you love, Nepal. From Singapore.

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