A personal PhotoChallenge matching a story to a photo every day for 30 days with short tales of travel, mountaineering, Nepal, art, and a few personal ones too!
8. The Earthquake Got My Cheese!
Samjhana walked past the white Dharara Tower and stopped in shock as it started to sway, then to collapse as the whole ground shook and there was a series of loud bangs. She was out shopping as the Nepal earthquake struck in 2015, Saturday April 25th, her day off from working as a teacher trainer at our NGO in Kathmandu. Only 23 years old, she turned and ran …. back towards her house about 2km away. In her own words, “I just started running, I knew what it was, but I really didn’t know what I was doing. I have a vague recollection of dust, debris, people screaming, bodies, but I just kept running. When I got home, my house had gone, a pile of bricks, and my mother, grandmother and brother were outside in the street huddled together away from the buildings. My mother just stared at me, it made me look down at myself, I was in rags, my clothes ripped to shreds and I had only one shoe. I really don’t know how I got home but I remember suddenly thinking … I’ve lost my cheese, I bought a lovely piece yesterday after work and now I’ve lost it!”
I’ve laughed with her so many times over this bit about her precious cheese that seemed so important to her. Out of our 8 young female staff 3 completely lost or had their homes badly damaged. All of them lived in tents or under tarpaulins for several weeks, afraid to sleep inside buildings. But Samjhana kept complaining about her cheese! Tomorrow, our efforts to help traumatised young children are rebuffed!
It is funny what we think about at the time. Glad her and her family escaped harm, never mind the cheese!
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Difficult to imagine what it must be like to be caught in a severe earthquake incident. I remember a minor tremor about 10 years ago in Lincolnshire, the house shook a bit and some ornaments fell over but the house remained standing.
If it had fallen down I would have tried to save my memory box first and then the cheese!
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