In the sad aftermath of the Nepal earthquake that has left thousands dead and tens of thousands in need, TravelingMom writers who have visited that hauntingly lovely country know that Nepal rests near and dear to the hearts of anyone who has been. We’ve asked three of our Traveling Moms to write a few words about their memories of Nepal, share their personal perspectives on the country and its people, and offer their recommendations on ways you can help in the aftermath of these devastating natural disasters.
Memories of Nepal Can Bring Strength After Earthquake
Blended Family TravelingMom Christine Tibbetts spent a week in Nepal in 2010.
Traveling to prepare for tragedy of immense global proportion doesn’t seem a happy notion, but reaching back for memories of places visited can offer insight, maybe perspective when natural disasters strike.
In 2010 the honor was mine to spend a week in Nepal, with the guidance of Binaya Rana, a Buddhist scholar and the son of a revered religious leader, a Rinpoche.
Focus on Assurances
Along with a pervasive sense of helplessness, sadness, distress for lives so disrupted, I’m adding this assurance to my reaction to Nepal’s deadly earthquake:
- The wind horse is carrying prayers from flags of vibrant colors or tattered shreds
- Mantras painted or engraved on prayer wheels are being released as hands of believers turn them clockwise as they walk around the temples
- 5,000 years of history are undergirding the devastation in this land with no ocean borders, next door to “the top of world,” Tibet.
Faces in my mind of children and their teachers in loving orphanage schools I visited strike fear for their safety in my heart, but also give me contacts to ask how best to share aid.
Walking the streets of Khatmandu showed me the depth of faith in this land, where prayer is frequent and simple altars abound on most corners.
Hearing the incantations of murmured blessings in open-air worship over and over again in this ancient land allows me today to embrace a peacefulness most likely resident in Nepalese people – quite different from the Western world’s emphasis on fear and destruction.
Doesn’t mean they don’t need my meager assistance – does mean the perspective of travel can be abundant.
If you would like to help in response to the earthquake, consider this resource.
So Easy to Fall in Love with Nepal
Expat TravelingMom Heather B. visited Nepal in 2014.
Nepal might be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It is home to eight of the world’s 10 tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, the biggest Hindu temple of Lord Shiva in the world, and some of the most scenic places like Pokhara, Annapurna Circuit, Khumbu and Langtang for trekking.
Nepal is home to an amazing 871 bird species, its one of the few places in world where one can find Royal Bengal Tigers and it is pioneering the efforts to save the one-horned rhinoceros (Indian rhino).
For these reasons and more, falling in love with Nepal is not difficult to do.
During a visit to Nepal in the Spring of 2014, my family and I visited Chitwan National Park area, staying at the Sapana Lodge. We were welcomed by the staff and treated like family.
Some of the more touching moments included visiting a local school and speaking with the children, being welcomed into a local’s home as a way to get to know and appreciate each other, and talking to local staff at the lodge…learning their personal stories and reasons for leaving high mountain villages in order to work.
My family and I treasure these real moments today as we try make contact with those at the lodge. Fortunately, they are all safe, but many of the staff’s families have lost houses and have suffered injuries.
Here’s a link for financial support via Women on a Mission, a Singapore-based organization.
Long Lasting Effects of Nepal
From Kymri Wilt, Photo TravelingMom,
When I went to Nepal in 2009 to film a documentary, I had little idea that I would return home with such a profound sense of global family and community, and what it means to live a life dedicated to others.
The orphan children whose stories I was documenting became my family away from family, and the Loving Arms Mission orphanage, founded by Kent Rogers, was my home away from home.
As I awoke to the news of the devastating earthquake, I immediately felt in my heart that my Nepali family and loved ones were safe, and fortunately, that turned out to be the case. But that was just the beginning.
“The bad news is that Kathmandu is devastated. Many people have gathered at the LAM homes to take shelter there in tents and tarps Kent had set up on the property. When it rained, people rushed in to LAM’s slightly damaged houses. The LAM families are staying outside until the aftershocks stop. Kent, Shovha, Nadine and Rajendra are trying to take care of all those gathered at the LAM compound.” (Loving Arms Mission Facebook Status Update)
The updates from Kent and Shovha continued.
“Our house has become a shelter, toilet facility, and to some extent a supply center.” Kent says people from the village moved in under the tarps immediately. The rains brought a river that flowed right through all the bedding. “It didn’t make sense to kick them out. Shovha is permanently accommodating to whomever comes to our home.”
Throughout, Kent reports that there has been singing, children playing, and an outpouring of love amid the horror and anguish. This is simply a deep-rooted way of being for the Nepali people, and their resilience in the face of adversity is admirable.
Donations may be made via PayPal to the Loving Arms Mission website, where you’ll also find Kymri’s documentary videos. The earthquake relief funds collected by LAM will be wired directly to Kent Rogers, who will use them to help the people most in need in Nepal after these natural disasters, beginning with those right under his tents.