We had decided to join Khusi Hona team in their endeavor to help the needy at one of the relief camp in Bhaktapur. Slept in the tent that night to start our journey the next day. Was almost a sleepless night as the thought of quake while sleeping loomed. Woke up early to learn it shaked at about 4 am (2nd one in 2 days).
Khusi Hona is an organisation registered in Florida, US and primarily working towards upliftment of orphans in the Indian Subcontinent and some parts of South East Asia. They decided to put their expertise to help the quake victims in Nepal.
We met Geet from Khusi Hona who was leading the team to the relief camp. They were going to buy relief materials and then head to the camp. We decided to join them straight at the camp. Drove to Bhaktapur. The camp was setup at a school called Zenith English School in Bhaktapur. It had I think about 20 odd families. Khusi Hona had created a list of the families living at the camp and were going to distribute the materials to them. There were a team of about 6-8 people and we and another couple were joining them.
On reaching the camp Geet gave me a box of candies and some toys to take care of the kids while others will distribute the material to the families.
I called all the kids to one of the tents, luckily Hindi helped. Asked them to ‘Basun’ (Sit in Nepali). There were about 20 kids, the youngest was 18 months and I think the oldest would had been 12-13. The kids were excited about the fact they were going to get their treats. They had an excitement on their face and for a moment me and them had forgotten the devastation that had struck them and the despair caused to them. Seeing them no one could say they were recovering from a calamity.
Distributed them the candies and got to know the little mischief. They were not hesitant from singing for us or doing a lil gig. All of them used to go to schools and were a confident bunch. I tried taking a selfie and everyone was over me. We didnt feel we were strangers a moment before. Lorene had joined me in playing with the kids and the kids were as comfortable with her even though she had a language gap.
While I was distributing the candies a few old women asked for them. I told them it was for the kids. They responded they had a kid in them. A fact of life most of us forget as we grow. They were in sync with life.
The rest of the team were distributing the materials ranging from basic food supplies, to medicines, sanitary pads to the women, hygiene products like tooth paste, brush etc. I think they were a little disorganized. They had a list of the families and they were distributing the same things to all families. I think they should had packed everything in a bag for each family and distributed the bags. Would had been easy for them to store. Also a few things like they were distributing sanitary pads to old women rather than the teenage girls. Well its just a matter of perception.
Khusi Hona is doing a good job. However, I feel the people at the camps at Bhaktapur are over fed and well looked after being in the city and being taken care by a bunch of NGOs. There were some people who had joined the team that day that felt more like a photo op and I think they should avoid such people if their intent is, which I think it is, to do some genuine relief work. I still would urge people to donate to Khusi Hona, their intent is right and they are doing good stuff and for Nepal as they need them. Check the link to their facebook page for more info: http://www.facebook.com/KhusiHona and their website: http://www.khusihona.org
The experience at the camp left a void in me. I felt I was more traumatized by the quake, not even having experienced it. The people had a smile and calmness in them which was lacking in me. They had hope and confidence unlike the people I met in Kathmandu. I could feel they were ready to move on and get back to normal soon. It was a striking difference to the people in Kathmandu. I realized the more knowledge we have it adds on to the burden of recovering.
We got back and had another visit to a neighboring village fixed for the next day. Wait for the next part, the village trip was my moment of waking up.
It was a satisfying day and made me stronger as a human. I thought for once its everyone’s duty to get to Nepal and do their bit. Get a little karmic and do your karma guys. As I write this I have already planned my next trip to Nepal and help a few more people stand back and get started with their lives.