‘They have not told me the name of his disease. They just said my son will never be normal’

‘They have not told me the name of his disease. They just said my son will never be normal’

“They wanted to kill my son because he is not normal. That is why I left my husband and his family in Ramechhap. That was 15 years ago. Since then I have been living here. I work as a maid so that I can rent a room and take care of my son.

“But then the earthquake came and now I live in this camp. It is very difficult. My son cannot control his voice and he is very loud. The others here get angry about him and complain. We are not part of the community here. I want to move, but nobody will rent me a room because of him. So I have to continue here.

“Every day I take my son to the school for disabled children. It is tough, because he cannot walk by himself. I put my arms around him so he does not fall. It’s even worse here in the camp because the paths are not straight. So every morning we stumble on the way together, and in the afternoon we stumble back.

“Whenever I can afford it, I prepare noodles for him. It’s what he loves most. It makes me happy to see him full of joy and relaxed. The doctors have given me some medicine, not to cure him, just to calm him. They have not told me the name of his disease. They just said my son will never be normal.

“But all the hardship does not matter. Because of all what happened during the earthquake I love my son even more than before. We all have lost so much, but I still have him.”

Photo: Sven Wolters

‘Engineers marked our house unsafe … but we had to move back in’

“Engineers pasted red stickers on our house, marking it unsafe. But we repaired it on our own. We had to move back in because it was difficult to live under a tin roof once the winter began. I am not sure if the house is safe now or what will happen if there is another earthquake. We live in fear. All I can do is pray to the lord to keep my family safe.”

Photo: Deepa Poudyal

‘My husband moved to Qatar in 2010. I don’t know what he is doing’

“My husband moved to Qatar in 2010 with the hope of finding a good job to support our family of five children, but he does not send any money home to assist with our children’s education. I lost my house in the earthquake, where I could have raised my children and given them the life they deserved. Instead, I struggle to make ends meet. My husband hasn’t spoken to me in all the years since he moved there. Neither has he inquired about our well-being after the quake or sent any money to rebuild our home. I don’t know what he is doing. I don’t even know if he is alive or dead.”

Photo: Ritu Panchal

‘I was a devout Hindu. I have a new identity now’

“I was a devout Hindu. But when the earthquake destroyed everything I possessed, I was forced to live in a tent with families from other communities. I lost my religious identity. Like my new friend Aarti, who is a Christian from Pulchowk, I have a new identity now. We are both victims. We share the same grief.”

Photo: Pushkala Aripaka