‘When my husband appeared, covered in dust, it was the most miraculous moment of my life’

‘When my husband appeared, covered in dust, it was the most miraculous moment of my life’

“I had a house and a shop in the market area. Now I live in this shelter. I sew clothes here. When I had to move in here with my family, I cried for almost a month. There is nothing here. No ceiling, no floor, no furniture. It’s hard to sleep on the cold ground. It’s hard to care for my family. But then I remember the day of the earthquake. I was cutting cloth in my shop when the earth shook. At first, I ignored it. But then I ran out when I felt how massive it was. I had left my husband in our house. I was scared for him because our house is quite old. I tried to run home, but I couldn’t. The road was blocked with rubble from destroyed houses. I screamed and I cried. After half an hour or so, my husband found me. He was covered with dust, and without slippers on his feet. When he appeared in front of me, it was like a fairytale. It was the most miraculous moment of my life.”

Photo: Unnat Sapkota

‘We were friends before, but were not so close’

“We were friends before, but were not so close. We were busy with our own lives. We used to talk when we met each other. But one thing I am happy about is that the earthquake has shown us the importance of life. I worry about Vijay when he is not around and there is an aftershock. I think he does that, too.”

Photo: Aman Jaswal

‘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

‘The government gives us Rs 15,000, but Rs 15,000 is not enough!’

“My husband works on construction sites, and I make wool thread. I earn Rs 140 per day. The earthquake took away my house and since then me and my husband have been living in this zinc shelter. I don’t like to stay here. Building a house is our dream. The government gives us Rs 15,000, but Rs 15,000 is not enough! We don’t have a single thread of hope for making a new house!”

Photo: Patrick Ward

‘Whatever happened to us is past. We have to look forward to the future’

“Before the earthquake, I was a housewife. My husband had a small cybercafe but our main income came from agriculture. I lost my house in the quake and even worse, we have not been able to sow any crops this year. Now, as we try to rebuild our house, I have opened a teastall to help with our income. I sell food items that I cook. I also help my husband with the rebuilding of our house. I think we can only move forward if we strive hard. Whatever happened to us is past. We have to look forward to the future.”

Photo: Pushkala Aripaka

‘I cannot think of going home. I am afraid an earthquake will hit us again’

“I haven’t gone back home since the earthquake damaged our house. I asked others to take out my belongings and bring them to me because I am scared of returning. I have a family of eight and now we all live in a poultry shed. Me and my husband had built it in March. We were planning to bring in some chickens. I cannot think of going home now. I am afraid an earthquake will hit us again.”

Photo: Ashma Gautam

‘I can’t wait, so I’m trying to repair my house myself’

“I have two kids, and they are having a hard time. They feel insecure in our shelter, so I want to repair my house as soon as possible. I never expected we would face this kind of situation. I sew clothes and my husband drives a micro van. We have a medium income, so we can’t afford to build a new house, and the government is being silent towards us. I can’t wait, so I’m trying to repair my house myself.”

Photo: Bidhur Dhakal