Friday, May 22, 2015

A month after...

3 weeks later, and it's almost a month since the shake. Every day we say "slowly life is getting back to normal"... normal, whatever that used to mean. But nothing is the same, everything is changed. Here, nothing will ever be the same again. No one knows what tomorrow will be, because today is simply enough to deal with. Keep the mind cool, outside it's hot, sticky hot. moonssoon is coming soon, the skin is sticky...


In Pokhara, the days seem to pass as always, one after the other. Except that the streets are empty, some hotels even put locks on their doors. A few locals sit in front of the
shops, sip on a chai, one sip at a time. It's like time slowed down a bit, it's full season, but everyone knows there is no season. The last tourists leave, a few stay, always.
Cowboys and indians, visions of a far west where wild things are gone, a horse passes by, an old hippie asks if you want some shrooms, a guy walks around in his underwear,
the joints turn around, everything is almost as normal, feels like old Nepal. Just a bit weird, the Zone as my friend joked, Ghost Town. On the other side of town, the Helping Hands project keeps on packing, and going to the villages near bye. Time is for construction, they talk of zinc roof shelters, 100 euros to house a family of 6. The kilos of rice keep on packing, but they know that food is just another issue.
A couple paragliders fly in the sky.

This week, I moved 2 times. Once from the roof. I was up there, on the 5th floor when the last shake happened. I did not feel like running down 4 floors inside a staircase, so I stayed up on the roof, watching the windows shake. On the ground, everyone was outside the buildings, I waited a couple minutes, took my bag, went down and decided to change room. The day after I was in the garden, back on the ground, in the middle of a hippie nest. 5 days of hippies, and I moved out again, to the end of the lake, where it's quiet, very quiet, besides the trucks that pass by. For now, few trucks pass the road, everything has slowed down. Less dust in the air.

"In Pokhara it's eazy to forget that there is an earthquake" says a russian. Yes it is eazy to forget, but I can't. Every day the paper shows images. The papers talk politics, hope,
post traumatic disorder, cultural identity, sports and the usual world news. Nepal is in trauma, Nepal is in a cultural crisis. Nepal has to re-invent itself and the people living here
with it. In the villages and in camps, the stories talk. The roberies of the trucks carrying food supplies, the rapes, the mountain pirates and more. In some areas around
Kathmandu, many need to go with security, unless you're from the area. In some areas, people fight for survival. If many areas of Nepal did not get affected, this touches the
entire country's demography. In the country side, they drink, pressure is building up, but the moonssoon will cool it down for a while. People delocalise, some even speak of
changing the capital to a new town. Some richer nepalese left already, a few came back from afar. The country moves.

Kathmandu lost at least 50% of it's buildings, it will take years to rebuilt, 10, 15, who knows, but a long time for sure. "Next is a big golden laughing Buddha. You know the
chinese one, the fat one" says someone by the lake. Let's see what's next. For now they are clearing what they can, a brick at a time, with spoons and hands. Not enough
heavy machinery, not enough technical knowledge on how to take buildings down. A group of engeneers come from outside, international help is present, but how to work with
it is a story of it's own. As usual nepale politics are critized, they been doing a shitty job since the war, why should anything change now? The governement is thinking about
creating an office in charge of the reconstruction, the governement is always thinking, but rarely doing. Soon the reconstruction job is supposed to fall in their hands. The
groups keep on doing their work.

"Fuck the system" says a nepale friend. He's a Manange, he's got a good business, he's been doing social action for Nepal long before the quake, he was building his village in Mustang area. Now he is helping a Gorkha village. "We want to build a school, we got everything, the builders, the money, but we need a permit from the governement." That could take a while. "We do what we have to do, got no trust in the governement" he says, same as before the quake, except that this time he does not feel like waiting any longer. "I got my business to run, my family to take care of. People want to send money, but how can I manage all of this?" he asks. Logistics, organization on the field, it's a big deal here. Information sharing, connecting the people that do good work, all is to do and naturally happens. What will be the results, no one knows, but people are doing what they have to do, even if it's nothing. "Villagers need to get back in the fields. They just sit and wait for help, they have to do their own work too." Muk continues, he just spent 3 weeks doing 3 trips to Gorkha villages. "If fields are not worked on, then whole year will be a problem for food." He's tired, back in Pokhara he can sleep a full night. Rest is good, need to keep the mind cool when it's hot outside.

Wich construction to make is new question. Tin roof shelters, earthbags techniques, each offer suggestions and many start making. A cup of cofe at Panoramix, every day, a new day starts...

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