Nepal EQ Relief 尼泊尔 05/15

How far would you go for a stranger? 

On 22.5.2015, I boarded MAS flight to Kathmandu with Janice and Mohksin... with a lot of uncertainties. 

Since 2006, I've visited Kathmandu on a regular basis. So did Janice, she has been to the Everest and Annapurna Base camps several times. To us, going to Nepal is like returning to our second home and meeting Nepalese friends are like meeting up with relatives. This time, we travelled with heavy hearts because we are on a relief mission.

We co-founded Operation Rejoice, with the objectives to bring better lives to people by improving their Living conditions and providing Education opportunities.

As we touched down, I thanked Buddha for the safe and timely landing. We met Aashraya and his friend who helped us with our luggage and relief supplies.

Clearing of Immigration and customs were a breeze and to our surprise, everything seems fine. The traffic to Chabahil was smooth and I was glad to see Charumati Vihara commonly known as Chabahil Stupa (one of the oldest Buddhist Stupa in the valley), is safe from destruction.

Nepal, in such great devastation, offered us smiles and warmth that touched our hearts - making all the hard work worthwhile. The only incident that disgusted me was when we were trying to clear our air cargo - you can imagine why.

We actively share post on our distribution trips on Operation Rejoice Live ACTion and Operation Rejoice FaceBook Page.

We are working on keeping Operation Rejoice's website updated.

Some photos from our trip:

Singapore Changi Airport - ready for Nepal!

Shaken local school

Flatten building

Setting up tents @ Chabahil home. Thank you to Shartul Rinpoche for housing Operation Rejoice.

Tents to shelter us :)

Meeting with Nepali local teams

Nepal local team leaders: Yuba, Surya, Aashraya 

Singapore Designed Wateroam water filters - Water filter demonstration

Relief supplies to local teams for distribution to individual villages.

Relief supplies to local NGOs eg. Dudjom Foundation, Be Human Nepal, etc


On the ground - In Nepal (Collection of Air Cargo) - 23 May 2015

Waited for more than 6 hrs to clear out air cargo. Was it smooth? NO! it was ridiculously no rule.

Experienced for ourselves firsthand dark side of bureaucracy and we-shall-not-mention at work. We were just so so so so glad to be able to retrieve our goods from cargo custom after more than 6hrs of wait. Many selfless Nepalese and foreigners came to our help, with special thanks to Furba (Be Human Nepal), Juan, Kamal, Jet Airways Singapore and Kathmandu office, Aashraya, Surya, Yuba.

Clearing cargo from Nepal Airport Cargo

Working hand in hand

Furba from Be Human Nepal (local NGO) helping us

Mohksin from Majulah pushing the cart

Let's get the hell out of the Cargo office!

Check and check...

Back to our 'headquarter'. Thanks Juan for helping!

Macho Zwen! :) She deserves that plate of Momo!

Mission accomplished! We will start distribution tomorrow!!!


 On the ground - In Nepal (Distribution at Harisiddhi) - 24 May 2015

We arrived Harisiddhi with heavy hearts... Some villages are completely destroyed. At this particular one, 10,000 made homeless, 23 bodies found and countless missing.

The damages are beyond what words can describe... Home and dreams shattered.

When we were doing site assessments, concerned villagers came and advised us not to stay put in the ruins for too long as whatever remain standing can rumble anytime.

As I was walking through the ruins, all I could think of .. How their lives were destroyed... When we reached the holding area, we saw a room full of children playing and laughing, a room with women and very young children (infants), a kitchen with women cooking with love and smiling offering us food and soda... The men helping to make zinc shelters...

We see hope for this group of farmers. We think their optimism and determination will see them through.

These people are not greedy, they only asked for 10 mosquito nets / insect repellent from us! Can you believe it?! That's all they asked for... To protect elderly and children from insect bites.

What's left ... Evidence of shattered lives..

Danger in walking through these alleys as buildings from both sides can collapse in seconds

Zinc shelters with metal frames

Men helping to put up zinc shelters

Community shelter - women cooking

Children in make shift childcare (with the help of SOS children society).

Some NGOs have given help. Now they have clean water...

Aashraya giving mosquito nets to villagers


On the ground - In Nepal (Distribution at Bhaktapur) - 24 May 2015

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Witnessing the destruction Mother Nature can do. Heartbreaking to see this world heritage premise reduced to rumble.

Visited the camp and donated 50 groundsheets and 33 mosquito nets.

Other NGOs have set up temporary homes and water filtration systems.

Holding the building with logs... Will it work?

Manually pulling down buildings by the Army.

Some buildings look strong. Nepalese continued to spend time at the Square.

Damaged

Strongest temple - survived many earthquakes in the Nepal history. We hope it will continue to stand strong and tall to witness time, culture and history of Nepal.

These streets are dangerous to walk through, building can crumble down ...

Hope the owner of the shoe is alright.

Alisha Shrestha of class 5, hope you are okay.

Happy DEEPAWALI 2062 Rose is Red Sky is Blue O'My Best Friend I LOVE YOU From Roshmi to Soponin (cannot make out the exact name)

Damaged houses; Shattered lives

Walking quickly through the danger zone

Locals getting life back to normal

Purified drinking water made available by NGOs

Living beside big drains means mosquitoes. Villagers will need to do their part by keeping their environment clean.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square Camp talking to the camp in-charge

Zwen giving out groundsheets to the chairman of the camp

Janice giving out mosquito nets to the chairman of the camp

The team with some villagers

 

Mission accomplished!


On the ground - In Nepal (Distribution at Shankus VDC, Dhading District) - 25-26 May 2015

We departed for Shankus VDC in Dhading district where we distributed tents, groundsheets, mosquito nets and medicine.

The drive to Shankus took 5 hours with 1 hour off-road. We were greeted by friendly villagers who started gathering upon knowing our arrival. We distributed to over 400 villagers to Bhangkharka Village. Surrounding villagers from Madhuban Village and Dhola Village also came to receive relief items. As we walked around, none of the houses are in good livable condition. These villagers received almost no help.

Young boys eagerly volunteered to carry the stuff from our jeep while all other villagers waited in anticipation for their relief items. We were given traditional tika welcoming ceremony by the representative of the village.

Prior to giving out the items, we conducted demonstration of setting up tents and many uses of the groundsheets. Thereafter villagers received the items by household accordingly. All had a wide smile and thankful we came. :)

We hope that the little love sent from Singapore will give them some relief during this hard time while they start rebuilding their homeland.

Stay baliyo (strong) our beloved Nepalese.

Overnight stay @ Bhangkharka Village and we were treated very well by the villagers. The ever hospitable Nepalese gave us the best of what they can offer to us and we were deeply touched.

Loading up for 4 hours drive + 1 hour off-road drive

Moving supplies to a jeep for an hour drive off road

Ready with big smiles

Along the way ...

Along the way...bad roads

Human chain to offload supplies. Villagers helping.

Helpful village boys

Collapsed school

 

Very enthusiastic villager

Giving Operation Rejoice team a very warm traditional welcome

Demonstrating tent set-up

Giving out relief supplies to each household; more than 70 households.

Villagers giving thanks

Food and drinks provided by villagers

Demo on water filters

Surya receiving the filter from Janice

First taste of filtered water

Lunch served by villagers

Villagers clearing space for our tents

Villagers busy collecting whatever remains to rebuild their homes

Helping villagers setting up their tents supplied by Operation Rejoice. Happy!

Our lovely tents for the night

Always smiling, despite the going through the damaging earthquake.

Our lovely team!!! Bye bye Shankus for now. 


 On the ground - In Nepal (Distribution at Bungmati, Khokana, Manjushri Educational Project (Pharping)) - 25-26 May 2015

Last day of distribution before we go home.

Visited Bungmati (Lalitpur district), khokana (Lalitpur), Manjushri Educational Project (Pharping).

Distributed mosquito nets, groundsheets and water filters.

 

@Bungmati rebuilding is starting...

@Bungmati tearing down destroyed houses

@Bungmati no more home...

@Bungmati rebuilding home

@Bungmati we bought water and masks for locals and workers clearing the rubble.

@Bungmati hardworking locals clearing on their own

@Bungmati writing down the items we giving them.

@Bungmati Mosquito nets which we donated

@Bungmati villagers waiting eagerly to receive items

@Khokana rebuilding. I see hope.

@Khokana business as usual

@Khokana rebuilding using bamboo

@MEP demo the use of water filter

@MEP Nepal government has declared no school after the earthquake but not at MEP.

@MEP student learning