"For how long can people give kilos of foods? I gave what I could, now I need to work and money to keep going" says my nepale friend as we talk about the current situation. They all know it will be a rough year for everyone here, the futur looks uncertain, even more than usual. This is the real question, how long will volunteers show full support, how long can people donate? For now, the kilos of supplies keep packing up direction the mountains. For now the kilos of food, tents, blankets, medical supplies keep on coming, but for how long is a question to ask. For now, it's wonderful to see all get together and help as best they can. But once the tons of supplies are distributed and once the donations slow down, the work will keep going on for a long time after. For those that know Nepal, we know the difficulties of the country, and they are deeply rooted in the political and religious system of the country. If the maoiste revolution threw out the last Hindu King (from muslam family, but shhhtttt, it's a secret;), since the revolution which was 10 years of civil war, the new governement did absolutely nothing of what it promessed during the revolution. Does this story sound familiar? Seems history has a tendency to repeat itself...same same...but diferent this time...
The help that is now happening around Nepal is the automatic emotional response when faced with so much destruction. It's naturel to do what one can, there is no thought in emergency, in emergency we act, period. It is purely emotional. In a month or so, when the emotional side will have gone to other things, the real work of rebuilding will start. Nepal is to be rebuilt. Words are passing, "we'll deal with politics after" the nepales say. Now is now, and now is time to distribute the funds that the groups that formed here and there have collected. And they are all doing a great job, all the money going directly to those in need. Anti gov, anti big NGO's, this is political action on it's own way. People take things in their own hands, there is simply no choice. People unite, and do the foot steps themselves. No time to wait for those that take too long, when it's time to jump, gotta jump, and they jump to action where nescessary.
It's been years that Nepal is on the list of countries to help. Nepal has more orphenages than any other country in need. In western Nepal, the area most affected by the war, and left out by the NGO's that focus in eastern regions, we went through a village with no adults left. A village full of kids left to themselves and a few olders that survived the war. Even before the quake, Nepal was a dificult country. Here, one of the main cause for women mortality is child birth, as well as freezing of cold in chautabari (red houses), where the women go retire when they have their period. Women being unpure when she has her period, they go in the red house, away from the village, and often simply freeze to death or are being raped. Oh yes, Nepal has it's dark sides, nothing new here. Let's not get into the child prostitution traficking, I'll paint the hard picture of the reality on the land another time. I know the local situation enough, I married to nepale, lived much with locals, and I heard enough times the same mantras, and anyhows, we are just foreigners...what do we know? Yet, I keep on loving this land, and it's people, don't ask me why, I don't know myself. Something to do with love, something to do with this humanity we all share, for better and for worth.
Even before the quake, there was much work to do here, and now, the work is that much more present. The real problem is deep, very deep. To understand Nepal, we should understand the mountains. Not only do they shake every 100 years or so and destroy much, but there is also the moonsoon, which every year takes down many villages with the created landslides. During moonsoon roads get cut of, and some places become very dificult to access. The Nepale mountains are going straight up to the sky, on the top of the world, it is hard mountains, and one has to wonder what is possible to do with those mountains and the people living in them. Why do anything at all, one could even ask. And it's ok to feel this way also. Politically correctedness is not my area of study, so please do bare with me for a minute. For the faints of heart, please go to a nice fluffy page.
We want to help? Ok that is fine, but what is true help? I have written a bit on the corruption of too many local so called "volunteering agencies", because I have seen the disaster and corruption it creates on the land, in the long run. We're not talking about big NGO's, it's the nepalese themselves that organise "helping scams". Good hearts want to help, but we can not help unless we understand the ones which we would like to help. The kilos of supplies going in the mountains are often actions organised by bideshis (foreigners), and they get fast to the mountains because of their great organisation skills, which sadly enough nepalese lack. It's easy to see here what a little education can do. What takes 1 day for a foreigner to do, will take one week for a nepale, that's about the ratio. And sometime, there is just no time to wait around and talk for hours about how to go buy 50 kilos of rice. Organization skills, it's a learned thing, and one has to want to learn in order to grow. Of course, many nepalese have those skills, it is the ones that went to study or lived abroad and worked enough time with foreigners. The diference can be seen in a minute, in response time, in the ways to share information, in making decisions, real decisions that hold the road. And most importantly to act upon the decisions.
So, to finish this thought. Yes Nepal needs help, but Nepal has needed help for a long time. Soon the emotional response will be over with, the dead will be burried and the size of the problems here will be in clear light for all to see. The top of the world is fighting a personal war, that affects many around the world. "We have to learn to clean our own asses" says my nepale friend. Yes, Nepal will ask itself many questions after this quake. And it should if it wants to grow. The usual Kei garne (what to do) might grow into a changed mantra. What to do, what to do, they always repeat when faced by a problem. No tension, no tension, they say, as the country swept the problems under the carpet...the past dust accumulated a few hundreds of years of tension, all being released by the events. Making clear decisions and applying them into actions is a first step. Better do something than nothing, and now is time to act upon the decisions that are being taken. A little education does go a long way indeed. Maybe Nepal will be ready to build real schools for their youths, real schools that teach people to make decisions on their own, so they can stand up on their own 2 legs...gurukul they call it, yes, gurukul will be most welcome after the emotional shake settles down. This is building times, and it's great times to learn and share. So, if you want to come help Nepal, no worry, there is still plenty of work to do in the years to come, and of course, the future always starts now!
Thanks for all support and kind words. Much gratitude to all. It is through tough times that we grow, and now, is one of those times. Happy blooming to all:)
Pictures from Baba Bikas, from a village in Kalanky area, just outside Kathmandu. People are still living outside the houses, as many are damages and behond repair. Kids in local orphenage are left to themselves, and the governement gives no help to the village. (Sorry for small pics, but it's what we got for now:)