‘I have not earned a single rupee, but Holi brings immeasurable happiness’

‘I have not earned a single rupee, but Holi brings immeasurable happiness’

“I work as a rickshaw driver in Kathmandu because my village in Sindhupalchowk was destroyed during the earthquake. Normally I earn 1000 to 1500 rupees a day. Now it is already noon and I have not earned a single one.

“But it is okay because Holi has brought me immeasurable happiness. It makes me forget for a short time all the destruction here in Basantapur and in my home village.”

Photo: Sven Wolters

‘I need to rise for the sake of the kids’

“That terrible earthquake buried everything. I lost my wife, my children lost their mother, I lost the business, I lost my leg. I lost everything. I don’t even want to remember that day. My wife, Mithu, used to fast, worship God and visit pilgrims, but that selfish God was not just to her and her family. Life has changed a lot for me since the earthquake. With steel fitted inside my injured body and two small children in my lap, I need to fight back against a life full of darkness. I need to go for medical checks every month. I have no plans for the future. Sooner or later, I need to rise for the sake of the kids. I am thinking of setting up the business again. Let’s see where time will lead me and my children.”

Photo: Mandira Dulal

‘They used to say, “Give me medicine to kill myself. Don’t give me medicine to heal.” It’s better now’

“It was very disheartening in the beginning when I came here. People who had nobody left in their families would be the most depressed. They used to say, ‘Give me medicine to kill myself. Don’t give me medicine to heal. There is no point.’ It’s better these days. There’s been a lot of progress in most cases. Most people’s physical injuries have been healed. I feel better as well.”

Photo: Ashma Gautam

‘Seeing people who have recovered, I feel relief’

“I was in my room after night duty. At first, I never realised that it was an earthquake, I thought it was the sound of a heavy bus that shook the house. But when I saw the house next door collapse in front of my eyes, something clicked in my head and I realised it was an earthquake. I ran. At the same time I got hit on the head, but it was a minor injury. The hospital was destroyed. Our staff made a shelter on open ground near the hospital area, and provided a service as soon as possible. Lots of people got killed and badly injured. We had trouble because more and more injured people came for treatment. Doctors, nurses and all the other staff provided 24-hour service as much as possible. Most of the injured people recovered, and some seriously injured people were referred to Kathmandu Hospital.

People are badly hurt, mentally and physically, and so am I. I got scared, and cried again and again. Later, I controlled myself, knowing that I had to be brave and help the injured people calmly, without fear. Now, when I remember those moments, I feel very proud that I could help people in a traumatic situation, and in future it will help me to face other traumatic situations. Seeing people who have recovered and are alive, I feel relief. It puts a smile on my face. I realise that there is no greater profession than humanity.”

Photo: Enika Rai