I had never thought that I would go to Nepal in my lifetime, but suddenly I found myself in the capital Kathmandu on June 9th, 2015, after a hastily arranged ‘detour’ from Bangkok, a few days prior to meeting the AFA team on their way to Bhutan.
On the night of my arrival in Kathmandu after seeing some of the destruction sights I was ready to fly home. I REALLY HAD ENOUGH ALREADY: death and decay all around I see. Under those piles of rubble, were there still unrecovered bodies? Bits of clothing (like filthy rags) still visible among the rocks and pieces of cement – and people quietly walking over the debris of what may have been their homes, still searching for ‘something’, maybe for peace.
Small and large colonies of tents, here and there and everywhere in many places in Nepal: that is reality Nepal, June 2015! Another reality is that when Nepal needs the tourist dollar most urgently bringing in millions of dollars for the economy, that is, for the people, the tourists have cancelled – costing the country an estimated 24 billion. That’s on top of the earthquake destruction itself.
My visit was timed (by God’s timing really, so fortunate for me), just right: any earlier, I would have been in the road; any later, the immediacy of the disaster, the pain, the horror would no longer have stared into my face but would have been more hidden in people’s hearts. Sure some 5-Star hotels may be ruined but there is plenty of accommodation left.
Right now I have no time really to give a proper report as I travel with the AFA group of seven of us to Bhutan and Mongolia and as it’s full-on day after day with so many other issues demanding my attention and overwhelming experiences of a different kind penetrating my mind. For example, I am supposed to preach tomorrow but I am unprepared.
But as I said, though I had enough of earthquakes and the like at the end of my first day already and though I found it hard to cope, I can never forget Nepal. The people remain deeply embedded in my heart. I got to know some of God’s most beautiful diamonds sparkling in the darkness of death – this death-infested world: yours and mine, Christian brothers and sisters. We will remember them. And I will stay in touch and share with you much more next time.
Just one thing that stuck me: the competence and efficiency – and love and commitment – of our Christian TRANSFORMATION NEPAL team that brought new life and hope to thousands of earthquake victims in Nepal with your help through AFA emergency aid.
While it is work in progress and follow-up work will be done, the emergency phase is over. While we still accept funds for Nepal we need to focus again on our projects in the 11 other countries in which we work. We also need to deal with urgent needs of so many different kinds.