In the heart of the rainy season in Nepal, the earthquake aftershocks continue, and so does the planning for how to rebuild after the rains taper off. This week Allen Gula writes about the vibe on the ground from Nepal, looking at important factors of rebuilding in the future.
Rural farming villages are notorious segments of the populations of many countries, being economically, socially and politically vulnerable.
These villages are most dependent on the variant systems of the land in order to survive and make their livings.
Environmental factors related to everyday lifestyles make these groups of citizens the most independently motivated and talented colleagues for rebuilding in Nepal after the earthquake.
The most affected segments of populations during the earthquake in Nepal are going to be the most active in rebuilding. Undoubtedly the burden of a lot of the labor of reconstruction will fall, with varying levels of support from government or non-profits, on the shoulders of families in rural villages.
Thousands of square kilometers of rural Nepal suffered massive property damage, loss of life and means of livelihood at midday on April 25th 2015.
There is still a blank spot in my review and analysis of what happened here. There’s a piece of the mind that humbly admits that no amount of meditation and fact review is ever going to describe what the hell happened here that day.
No amount of exposure to this place will completely reveal the variance of grief, luck, gratitude and trauma inflicted upon the hillsides of this land.
On the bright side there is so much potential to harness and rebuild, to unite efforts to support rural villages on their journey to restoring stability to the balance of life.
I have personally witnessed so many aspects of this national disaster that reminds us why it’s important to support one another in times of need.
The inspiration from the effort comes from the evolution of projects following the earthquake.
In the beginning groups of trucks rode up the mountains with rice, dhal, tarps and mats for anyone they could reach.
Updates were daily and people within Kathmandu were doing their best to track down where help was needed and distribute it accordingly.
From the tarps and tents to temporary shelters
Within two weeks of the initial earthquake, organizations registered before the earthquake and the ones starting now banded together to build something waterproof for the monsoon season.
Then the rains came, and with it the project planning for long term rebuilding; acknowledging the vast majority of children were out of school for over a month, most not having adequate structures to return to.
The past few months following the earthquake have been my introduction to Nepal.
I went from a tourist meditatively hiking in the mountains of the most popular national parks to now spending more time in between Kathmandu and rural areas of earthquake affected districts.
The opportunity to observe and learn from this unique window into Nepal’s history of development has been transformational for my understanding of the essence of community service.
Many prioritize the statistics of planning and project execution within international development. This industry came to be when the predatory economic systems of this generation came to light.
Institutions were established to oversee the ‘development’ of countries that had yet to economically ‘take-off’.
Nepal has been the focus of International NGO’s work on development for decades; the earthquake rejuvenated an already flooded market of foreign investment for that sector.
From strategic development planning to mantras, prayers and community service, the nature of the landscape here in Nepal influences the response to such a widespread challenge.
People from so many different backgrounds have found themselves uniquely intertwined in the response to the earthquake in Nepal. The essence is that it all helps, the more diversity around supporting programs that will support community based projects, the better.
A call to seva or service is the defining characteristic looking at this niche in history in Nepal. The charms of this nation that make it so popular with tourists, travelers, spiritual seekers and outdoor enthusiasts are still here, even more magnified and supportive than ever given the outpouring of collaboration after the earthquakes.
A natural disaster is indiscriminant and affects people without favoritism.
In a land plagued by the history of division amongst political groups, religion, caste system and the most intense mountain geography on earth, this process of unification is important for Nepal moving forward.
All eyes are on the next few months as the national constitution is ratified and the aftermath of the earthquake takes on new phases of reconstruction.
One thing is for sure, given all the amazing hospitality and learning how to rebuild schools and village homes in Nepal, there’s surely nowhere else a student of international development should be.
This is a unique place where mantras and spreadsheets mix to wish that everyone within this country and around the world unite to support one another in making a planet livable for all people, with lives harmoniously balanced within our special role in the cosmos.
May all who need help receive it from all blessed enough to give it. OM.
For more information about the work that Allen Gula is doing with colleagues for Conscious Impact in Nepal with rural village rebuilding programs, please visit www.consciousimpact.org.