Slowly but surely plans are coming together here in Nepal. With less traffic on the streets of Kathmandu (and less pollution), restaurants not operating in Thamel (due to a decline in availability of cooking gas) and the many promised tourists not arriving in the country. It has been a few steps forward and a few steps back over the last few weeks. Who am I to complain! For me, I'm walking everywhere... 10km's per day for me means weight loss and increased fitness (a positive) for a westerner I get the opportunity to go home and not live the daily grind that the Nepal people live on a daily basis. The blockades continue on the Indian border and today we hear the Chinese are sending fuel, it will take a few weeks but a relief for many of the people who are reliant on supplies.
Today marks the 6 month anniversary of the first of two major earthquakes to hit Nepal in 2015. With all the walking I also have the opportunity to see the damage. Many homes have shocking cracks from the ground level up with iron poles jammed against the front wall to hold the house together. On further observation one can see the family are still occupying the building....they have no where else to go!
In Swayambhu I walk along the ring road where many temporary shelters stand with old people and children sitting outside offering a friendly Namaste. I question where is their bathroom and kitchen? How are they not getting sick? and this is in the city! There are stories coming from the rural areas who are doing it even tougher. INGO's are in the country all assisting in their own ways...some efficiently, others spending a lot of donated money unnecessarily.....we won't venture further on that subject! There are minimal permanent structures being established, this is due to the Nepali citizens who are waiting on the government authorities to approve their rebuilding and give their 2lac (US$2000) rebuilding payments.
Umbrella Australia through the many donations we have received over the last few months are now focusing on how we can assist the Umbrella communities affectively post earthquake. Umbrella, have since the earthquake set up child friendly spaces for unaccompanied children, they continue to do so. There have been many children saved from trafficking and being lost due to these safe areas. Shelters have been established and our child protection workers have excelled in reuniting families back together post earthquake. Basic school furniture and supplies have been purchased for the temporary schools in rural areas, it was a priority after the earthquake to get children back to school and contribute some form of normalityinto their lives.
There is much work ahead and I will continue to keep everyone informed of happenings. Sadly we have not had the opportunity to visit our Gatlang women's project but have heard that most of the equipment we purchased was lost in the earthquake. Future plans are in place but at this stage the people of Gatlang have much assistance from pro active NGO's working with crops and rebuilding in their district. There are some very needy communities in the Rasuwa area still in need of support. I will keep you posted on further developments.