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As demolition of Chanda’s home was ongoing, a contingent of 6 nurses, pharmacists and lab techs from AAA and 5 doctors from Bir Hospital and Kathmandu Medical College held a Medical Relief Clinic in Newarpani. This day long clinic was no doubt conceived and organized by our student Ram Kaji who is from this remote village. Newarpani is an hour’s drive east of KTM, and it seems that they now have a rudimentary road up the hill to the village now. The village was badly hit by the First Quake and since they have to walk downhill an hour or more to catch a bus, they are quite isolated.
While doctors examined the villagers, our students took vital signs and dispensed donated medicines. Altogether they saw 300 patients. Our thanks and appreciation goes out to Ram Kaji, Prabitra, Neha, Dila, Manita, and Ruksana.
ENCORE 1 (Continued): AAA Builds a Shelter for Chanda
As reported in the previous blog, and while some of their workers were up in Newarpani seeing patients, a dozen AAA students spent two days demolishing Chanda’s little brick house (photos with last blog). Dirty, dusty and tired, they took last Saturday off and returned to begin construction on Sunday–laying out and digging post holes and embedding the critical posts deep into the ground. Again, some of these students are working even though they have Board Exams at the end of the week. I don’t know whether this reflects over-dedication, sophomoric over-confidence, or simply procrastination. And then, to add insult to injury, as construction continued on Monday, our students took time to celebrate Deepa Sinkhwal’s Birthday, a Lab Tech student at the National University (TU). Oh well, All work and No play makes for a dull kid and a dull workday. Happy Birthday, Deepa! Happy Home Warming, Chanda!
Today, Thursday I learned from Bal, that he, Sanoj and a villager are finishing up today on Chanda’s abode to allow the rest of the crew to have a couple of days for study before their big exams this weekend. We wish them the best and thank them all for their efforts. They have learned that there is satisfaction to be had beyond simply getting back exam results.
Tomorrow, Bal and I will have a long discussion about what lies ahead: earthbag training session and if we can build a prototype before the monsoon rains, Trans-Nepal letter deliveries and damage surveillance and documentation, the next AAA meeting, the SLC exam results and career counseling for our high school graduates, and what about our Fall trip for sponsors to come to Nepal and visit their children? Hopefully, the next Blog will have some ANSWERs.
Still there are 4-5 aftershocks of greater than 4.0 Richter in KTM that send people dashing out of their homes in fear. ANSWER-Nepal’s director Bal related that just last night (Fri), he and his wife and small child were awakened and made a fast exit outdoors at 2 AM. Most schools, if not too badly damaged, will reopen on Sunday (Saturday is the only day off in Nepal), and many schools will be offering counseling sessions for the children which surprises me because therapeutic counseling is almost unheard of in Nepal. However, many of the children have fled the big cities with their families for their home villages to survey and repair the damage to their own little homes and farms. The SLC exam, which is the yardstick for college selection was successfully administered at the end of Grade 10. However, the yearly board exams for Grades 11 and 12 were not and still hang over the heads of our college students like the sword of Damocles—imagine trying to study while living in a tent alongside one’s broken down home. I believe the date for the 12th grade exam is June 6, so these students are starting to protest for further postponement. Nothing is definite these days!
What are ANSWER’s college students doing to prepare for their exams?—Building houses of course and conducting a medical clinic! Those in nursing and the medical fields have gone to Ram Kaji’s (an ANSWER pharmacy graduate) home village to conduct a medical clinic to treat and refer patients–we will have more to show and tell on that soon. In the previous blog, are photos galore of the erection of Sudips temporary shelter. This week, many of the old crew, reinforced with more AAA members, began to address Chanda’s demolished home. For two days a dozen students cleared the rubble to make way for another temporary shelter.
Chanda is an extremely courageous girl who was orphaned, and subsequently raised by her grandmother in a rumble-tumble little brick home an hour south of KTM by bus. She passed her nursing boards and graduated just a few months ago when her grandmother suffered a massive stroke. We were monitoring her hospitalizations, but granny eventually succumbed. Then, alone in the world, Chanda came to us and reported she found her sister on Facebook and asked us for help in contacting her. We then came to learn that she had a younger brother and sister who had been placed in an orphanage and had been adopted by Europeans. Poor Chanda! Granny dies, finds but cannot locate her family, house destroyed and is displaced to a pathetic relief settlement.
Our efforts have paid off, but are still on-going. Chanda has now, through the miracle of skype, met her younger brother Kamal, a student in Germany, and his parents. As for her home, AAA has now cleared the rubble and made way for the construction of a shelter next week. Here are photos of the excavation, which was grueling, dirty and, with the rain yesterday, muddy-yucky. Our hats go off to all of our devoted, young people….what may have been fun a week ago has turned to hard work. Oh, to study again!