I set down to take a pill for the stomach at one of the streets of the Kathmandu. I was waiting to feel better, when a huge car with Nepalese army turned to my street and blocked the road. In this moment a local guy passed near me on an old Honda motorbike. Because of the blocked street he had to go back. I turned my had and saw him standing just near me. “Where are you from, what are you doing here, why did you come here, it’s dangerous, you shouldn’t be here now”… He was asking and I explained “why” and “for what”.
Actually, I was here to make my biggest dream to come true. I wanted to see the Himalayas and I did. Then I was exploring Kathmandu for one week, then I went for volunteering to the tee farm and then I found myself in one of the biggest Earthquake.
-Do you want to see the greatest damages in the city? – asked the local guy suddenly
And I set on the motorbike with the person, which I knew just for a few seconds. It was just a moment of hesitation, when your brain is saying ‘are you crazy???’ and your instincts just pushing you further. Due to a crazy traffic in Kathmandu, due to being in a foreign country on the stranger’s motorbike, I should be scared. But I wasn’t. I can’t explain why, but I felt very safe with that guy.
His name is Jeetendra, he is 30 and he works as a guide in one of the biggest travel agencies of Kathmandu. During the earthquake he was not far from the view tower, so he realised quickly the damage scale and ran there. Jeeten rescued 6 people and saw many deaths. ‘Sad’ – it’s not the right word to describe him at the moment of our meeting. I’d rather call him ’empty’. He told me that that horror is still standing in front of his eyes, thats why he was drinking alcohol the days before. Also he said that in tourist season he is usually very busy, so he gets home only to take a sleep. ‘If this disaster hadn’t happen, we wouldn’t met for sure’ – he said.
Actually, fate really brought us together that day. Just imagine, I instinctly turned to unknown street, where I suddenly felt sick. I set down. At that moment Jeetendra decided to go somewhere outside the camp and take a look if somebody needed his help. Another moment and he turned to the same street, where I was sitting and which was blocked by military car. Also he told me that he had an ex-girlfriend from Germany and we are looking almost the same. So first of all he was afraid that it was her. That’s why he did a stop to check it. I am not kidding, later in the evening, while we were drinking tea, Jeetendra met one of his friends. That guy looked at me and asked him : ‘when did she arrive?’
First we went to the tower
and stopped at Patan
I didn’t take many photos on that day, squares mostly were closed. Jeetendra invited me to meet him the next day and to ride together to the other damaged places. He asked me to show these photos to the people, so they could somehow help Nepal (people need money, really good tents (the monsoon season just started there), sleeping bags, clothings e.t.c.)
It was getting dark, we went to the camp near monastery. Sunset was really beautiful that day. We talked a lot with Jeetendra and my soul felt warm. Emptiness was gone from his face, I saw that he felt better. Actually he even noticed: ‘while I am talking to you, I am feeling like nothing horrible had happened, I am feeling like everything is okay and nothing bad won’t happen anymore…’
An old woman came up to us. She smiled and started to talk about something. ‘She came throgh the frightful earthquake in 1936, she was only 10 months old… she asks you to stay here in the monastery today’ – translated Jeeten. I looked at the woman, her eyes full of love looked at me so gently, the way only mother’s eyes can look at her child. I thanked.
Jeetendra told me about his grandfather, who also survived in disaster of 36th. He said that it was shaking for 16 days (in that moment I realised that I will be sleeping outside again). The view tower was also damaged, but not in such scale as it happened now. It crashed into 3 big pieces,so people even created a song about that. Also, there were no rescuers 100 years ago and people didn’t hurry to help each other. But horrible smell from dead people, who was still buried under the ruins, captured over the whole city. Though Nepalese began to disassemble the stones. Sad.
My new friend took me home, we hugged. On the next day he called me to apologize that he won’t give me much of his time as he had to help with humanitarian aid for victims of the earthquake. No need to worry, I went to Thamel alone
Maybe, one of the most popular frames after the earthquake – buildings, which bent to one another.
On the way to Durbar Square occurred such blockages
Jeetendra called me again. He caught me not far from the Durbar square and we went to the severest damaged areas. That’s how one of the camp looked like that day. Such camps are intended for people who lost their homes or were afraid to stay inside the buildings.
We passed Gongabu area, Jeetendra was surprised that I could recognize some streets. That we came to Balandzu area and I faced a completely horrific scene…
Can you see two orange marks on the wall of the ruins? It means that there are 2 people still alive under the ruins. 1 mark = 1 person. No rescuers, people were afraid to do something as they were not qualified enough.
I take photos and feeling myself as an asshole, because I am fine, I have some moneym camera and in a few days I will come back home in comfortable airplane. I noticed how Jettendra tried to wipe his tears quietly. How can I describe all this storm, I felt inside in such a moment? 🙁
Anyway, I realized one thing in that moment. It’s so easy to build your own beautiful imaginary world inside your head, where everything is like in fairy-tale. It’s so easy to live inside it. But sometimes reality is not the same and such things take you back down to the earth painfully.
We all tried to find an abstract explanation to things that happened. I always used to think that disasters happen in places, where negative energy is accumulated. In places, where people become angry, egoistic and hungry. But Nepal and such features didn’t fit in my mind. These friendly open-minded people couldn’t deserve that. Why did that happen to them? Anyway, due to the language of nature everything seems to be clear: there are tectonic plates and they are moving, but we are looking for the reasons in the wrath of God …
People, meanwhile, tried to save the remnants of their belongings, while others just sat around what was once their house …
This camp is located in the garden and looks nice. In general, the camps are located at safe open areas, squares, parks and hills.
But honestly, it’s hard and painful to look at this…
I said goodbuy to Jeeten. He didn’t promise that we will meet again these days, because he had to help the people. What I saw was enough to feel myself also empty, so in the afternoon I just wanted someone to hug and talk to a good person abought anything. I entered the small cafe and set down near unknown girl. Fate helped me, so the girl was very fair French, who came here to volunteer. I felt better talking to her. And then Jeeten called me again, took me to another tea and drove me back to the hotel. Night was silent and empty and everything that happened that day was a little bit mysterious and mystical. I lived a real life, I was happy and I thanked God for every day of my life, no matter what was happening. The next day a morning plane waited for me, that’s why I was sad. But fate has prepared for me one more surprise …