“When we first arrived in Kathmandu we were all surprised at how intact most of the city appeared. While there are selected areas where it looks as though a giant hand pushed over the buildings as though they were children’s toys, the city feels somewhat usual. The real devastation is in the remote mountainous regions—where the poorest of the poor live clinging to the side of the mountains in stone homes. We drove all day up a very muddy, twisty road that was almost impassable in a four-wheel drive vehicle. Several times I feared for our lives as the SUVs slid sideways on a steep cliff thousands of feet. We drove up to one of the birthing centers that is now unusable due to severe damage. Worst of all was seeing the local people dig through the piles of stones that were once their shelter in search of anything that they could use to rebuild. Most people were living in makeshift hovels from scraps of wood and tin. Everyone, including the small children, was digging in the rubble with their bare hands, removing bricks and stones that collapsed inside their homes. The donated CLIF Bars we brought were most welcomed; we focused on giving them to the elderly and the youngest. I felt helpless as we had not received our supplies yet and did not have much to offer but our friendship and compassion.
Relief workers had not made their way to this remote village; there are so many stranded and in need. All day US helicopters flew overhead with medical teams and supplies to the hardest-to-reach villages that were days away by foot. The locals watched in awe of the giant birds flying overhead.
What touched all of us the most was the resilience of the Nepali people, despite the loss of everything, including family members, they were working side-by-side with their neighbors and making sure we felt welcomed. Surrounded by the devastation there was joy and a sense of hope for their future. The children played on piles of stones, women sang while digging through the rubble, and when our car got stuck the locals laughed and then pitched in to help us. When walking down the street an older man came up to me and kissed my hands. He seemed so happy to know that help had arrived.”