Last week, our team heard about the dreadful destruction in Badegaun VDC in the Sindupalchok district where not only all but two homes were shaken to the ground, but the community’s schools and main monastery were also destroyed. Gangjyurjhang Gompa, which is entirely community funded, and Saraswati Educational Foundation, a school for low caste children, as well as Goraknath Primary, a government school, all no longer stand and it is now up the community to rebuild these institutions. The villages in the area, which are comprised of about 30% low caste people, are now left in a state where they can no longer send their children to school nor rely on their monastery for support as many of the lamas had been killed in the earthquake. Until CGLF arrived, no previous groups had been to the area with aid of any sort. (You can read about the previous visit here)
Our last brief visit confirmed that much greater aid was needed and led to several meetings during which CGLF pledged to aid in the rebuilding of these institutions. On May 25th, the principals of the two schools that were destroyed, Buddhi Prasad Acharya and Sarad Nakarmi joined a local lama from the district to discuss plans for rebuilding with CGLF. During the meeting, it was decided that Lama Lakzin Chodak and the two principals would represent the village, being responsible for coordinating collaboration with CGLF. They provided us with information on the types and amounts of building materials required for the reconstruction of the schools and monastery as well which villagers will participate in the rebuilding process. Next steps will include signing agreements for reconstruction and how much aid will be distributed to orphans and low caste victims.
In immediate response however, on the night of May 25th, our volunteers Kuenga and Rinchen Zangpo joined the local lama in bringing a truck of supplies back to the area. In a villager’s truck, they loaded 40 sacks of rice, 5 sacks of daal, some salt, and 40 tarps to aid the community before the rebuilding process begins. Our team stayed overnight, distributing supplies the next morning and placing emphases on the needs of the low caste people first.
During distribution of supplies villagers from several wards appeared. They discussed among themselves how to best distribute the limited amount of food that was brought and they divided according to their agreement with all ward members. Since the community is mixed in age, caste, and ethnic groups, there was much discussion as to how best to split up the tarps and how to create the most efficient shelter to house people of differing backgrounds. Fortunately, people were cooperative and this led to further talks on how to hasten the rebuilding process in order to create more efficient shelters for the long term.
The team also received an update about an older man with a severely injured leg who was transported down to Kathmandu teaching hospital on May 21 during the last visit. He is reportedly feeling much better and healing well.