Saturday, July 25, 2015

Our April 25 Earthquake Story--Part 2

OK, so here is Part 2 of "Our April 25 Earthquake Story!"  Yes, there will be a Part 3!

What's happening now, three months on?
This Himalayan Times news article explains many things:
http://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/monsoon-troubles-nepal-quake-survivors-three-months-on/

Yes, it's still tough.

When I ended the previous post, I was in the aftermath and aftershocks of the "big one" and didn't know where my husband was, nor could I call him (no service) nor ask anyone (all too busy).  If you missed it,  click http://himalayanhappenings.blogspot.com/2015/06/our-april-25-earthquake-story-part-1.html

If you've read or heard about it, there were aftershocks at approximately 15-20 minute intervals all day--and all night too.  They are actually still continuing!  (There was one this morning.)  Of course, they're not as strong now as they were then, but I'm still pretty jumpy every time I hear an expected sound!  The last current count I've heard was about 355 aftershocks above 4 on the Richter scale and over 20,000 under 4.  That 20,000 hasn't been updated for awhile, since I suppose that once you hit 20,000, you sort of lose track!  I felt one the other day as I lay in bed just relaxing and the mattress started softly shaking.  Ramon had already woken up and was in the other room, so it wasn't him turning over!  I would say the shaking lasted about 20 seconds or more.  I didn't move and just prayed in my mind, "Help us Lord!" and "Thank you for helping us!"  I usually don't feel those as I'm moving about during my days.  

Well, OK, back to our story!  At some point I decided to make a quick break for it and change out of my Sabbath dress and shoes--and go to the restroom!  I made a mad dash to our apartment where I changed in record time!  I just threw off my Sabbath things, let them fall where they may, and threw something on!  Yes, there were aftershocks while I was in the apartment. (I was shaky and chanting in my mind:  "Help us Lord!  Help us!")  However, what a surprise to find that we hardly had any casualties!  This is all that fell out of the kitchen cabinets:

Nothing else in the kitchen was broken!  All our plates, bowls, and glasses--safely in place!
The doors of the cabinets had all opened, yet the contents remained inside!
There the cabinets were--doors knocked open, yet everything in place!  Man!

A couple of things fell out of the hutch, which of course was full of glass cups, and not one of them fell--only a few unbreakable things!  Yes, the doors were open and all the cups were just sitting there as if there had not been an earthquake!  (I did take a second to put rubber bands on the door pulls, so they wouldn't swing open again.)  The Norman Rockwell had been on top of the hutch, so it fell quite a distance, but didn't break!  That "thing" at the bottom is a statue of a pregnant lady, which we have to remember all of the C-sections Ramon has been involved with.  She was up there with the Norman Rockwell pic.  Her head was broken, but she can be glued back together!

A few books and CDs fell off of one bookshelf (of course I can't find the picture right now),
but that is all!  The other bookshelves--nothing!  It's a really amazing how little damage we had!

Anyway, I noted these few things, but I didn't stop to pick anything up.  That's right--I just left the guacamole right there and ran back outside as quickly as possible--
after putting the rubber bands on the hutch and pushing the kitchen cabinet doors shut.

Soon after I came back down someone came up to me.
"Ramon is looking for you!"  YEAH!  "Where is he?"  "Over there!"
Do you see him?  He's in the blue hat on the left.

I was so happy that my knees started wobbling!
As I headed up there, the person called after me, "Ask him about the outdoor C-section!"
I stopped and looked back.  "WHAT?"  "He led the team outside for a C-section
and now he's doing an outdoor ICU.  He wants to see you.  Hurry up!"

I ran up and over to him.  Maybe you've seen this picture before.

He had set up an outdoor ICU.  The patient was a badly injured young police cadet.  Two of his classmates had come to the hospital DOA.  This young man survived, but it was touch and go for awhile.  His sisters we walking up to him at the same time I was and stood beside me.  They were crying.  One reached out to hold my hand.  Ramon said to them, "You can come and talk to him, but you must stop crying first.  Get a hold of yourselves, and come and talk to him.  It will transmit strength to him which he really needs."  They took some deep breaths and went over.

Ramon smiled at me and I was so happy and thankful he was OK.  He gave me a red ski cap which he had taken when he had had a chance to run up to the apartment.  "Put this on and don't take it off.  I need to be able to see you in the crowd."  I put it on and actually wore it until the next morning!  The weather was a little bit cool, so I was fine.  We said a quick prayer together and then he went back to work and I went down to be with the other people where I had been.

The pregnant girls had all been taken to this area, which is normally a parking lot for staff,
so they could all be together for quick check-ups.

I told our church's youth that I was proud of them for helping where they could.
Those with gloves on were helping to push stretchers and help carry/move mattresses.

They also helped set up tarps.

Some of the nurses and student nurses had a moment to sit down and calm themselves.
It was very important to remain calm.

All this time patients continued to come as did the aftershocks!  I have to say that I don't believe all the ambulance, car, and motorcycle drivers who risked their lives to bring the injured to every hospital and health clinic in the country are not getting the recognition they deserve.  Man, it was scary to just be there in that area behind the hospital.  I can't imagine what it must have been like to be on the road.  Besides that, countless people carried their friends and families, sometimes far distances, when there were no vehicles around.  There are many unsung heroes wandering around Nepal!  I want to say, "THANK YOU!" to all of them!!!

I didn't get very many pics of vehicles, but here are two.


Did you see the hospital's post about the little girl with the brave uncle who drove her here on his motorcycle during the very strong aftershocks?  If not, here it is:
http://scheermemorialhospital.blogspot.com/2015/06/earthquake-part-12-help-me.html

Update on the family:  The father got a job working reconstruction construction in their village and the surrounding areas.  The mother and children are here living with friends and the kids are still at  our school.  We love them and are happy they can be with us for awhile!
Look how precious they are!  They are strong little survivors!

Here are just some of the motorcycles in front of the hospital that day.
All had carried injured patients and were driven by brave folks.
I know they would all just say, "We did what needed to be done.  That's all."

Did you see this hospital post about the men who carried their friend in their arms for 11 hours
down a mountainous path?  If not, here it is:  http://scheermemorialhospital.blogspot.com/2015/05/earthquake-part-4-hes-not-heavy.html

We will never know about all the heroes who stepped up to the plate during a difficult time.
To all of them I say, "THANK YOU!" as well!

We all felt like this man's face shows.

OK, to find out what happened as the the stressful day finally ended,
stay tuned for Part 3!  I'll just say that we were all thankful that this day was finally ending!

I hope everyone reading this is having a great day!

If you have supported Nepal in any way, even with prayers, I also say, "THANK YOU!" to you!

Bye for now!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Our April 25 Earthquake Story--Part 1

Hi!

OK, OK, I'm behind schedule and I know it!  It's about time I tell our earthquake story--right?!

(photo credit:  pinterest.com)

We're so thankful that we can tell our story.  So many people cannot.

I've worked on this post off and on, but seemed unable to finish 
(maybe I didn't want to remember), but now I'll do it.

Anyway, just to let you know, we are OK and keeping busy.  Keeping busy during a difficult time makes it a little easier to cope.  Yes, it's difficult.  Yes, it's also getting easier, but still difficult because we see so many people still in need and we still are having aftershocks.  I start at every unexpected sound.  There have been well over 300 aftershocks above 4 and over 20,000 under 4!  On top of that, landslides have started and more deaths have occurred.  It's too sad and also surreal.  I still think I'm going to wake up and tell Ramon, "You would NOT believe the dream I had!"

Before we came, we were told that Nepal was due for an earthquake.  Well, when I lived in Memphis, we were always being told that an earthquake was due.  So far, nada!  (Memphis friends--keeping my fingers crossed for you!)  Anyway, we went to an Earthquake Preparedness class hosted by the American Embassy soon after we arrived.  Did we follow their advice and keep a backpack with clothes and food in the hallway closet?  No!  We did occasionally buy canned food with a pop lid, like they advised us to, but always eventually ate it!  That's how it is, isn't it?!

Anyway, we do feel blessed with how the world has responded with help and support.  It's still needed and still quite necessary.  Thank you!  After the monsoon rains, it's going to get cold, so right now the emphasis is on getting shelter for those still sleeping under tents 
(and tarps if they have no tent).

Now I'll tell you the blessings!  It's good to remember that there were (and still are!) blessings!  One interesting thing is that at the beginning of April, it was announced that there would be bandhs off and on for three weeks in April.  That's when the roads are closed.  If you missed it, some years ago, I blogged about bandhs here:  http://himalayanhappenings.blogspot.com/search/label/Strikes   Anyway, because of this possibility and the chance that we might not be able to go shopping, I shopped like a crazy woman and filled up our pantry.  Many people did this.  Then, the bandhs were mostly called off, but many of us had lots of food!  This turned out to be important later when the roads and stores/shops were closed after the earthquake!  Although for those whose houses collapsed on their food supplies, it was a different story.  This is why we are thankful for those who donated and for those who carried supplies (and still are) to those folks.

Here are some of the young people in our church and their friends making food packages 
to carry out to the villagers without food.

Another thing that might sound silly is that right before the earthquake I went to the beauty shop for a much needed haircut.  I had been putting it off.  I'm so glad I went though, because it would be some time before I would be able to go!  Who knew that that would turn out to be a blessing?!

Another huge blessing which you've probably heard, was that the earthquake was on a Saturday, so children all over the country were with their parents and not in school!  On any other day, the children would have been in school and many people would have been in their offices.  Nepal has a six day work/school week with Saturday being the only day of the "weekend."  That this happened on Saturday was surely a blessing!

This is evident when you look at the pictures of the elementary school on our hospital's campus, which at first glance seemed undamaged.  However, upon second glance, we see that is not so.  Every classroom had ceiling tiles on the floor.  They are very heavy.  I could barely lift one up.  This is right where the Kindergarten students line up to go out of their room.  Imagine if they had been there!

Here is where the little ones sit to sing and take their naps.  Imagine!  Thank you Lord!

Here they are in that same location waving to me and saying, "Hi!" on the first day of this 
new school year (April 19, 2015) for the Nepali new year of 2072.

It's scary it is to think what would have happened (here and around the country) 
if this had happened on a school day.

So now to our experiences on "the day" we will always remember.  It started out like any other spring day.  It was a little cloudy, and had in fact been raining now and then, which was worrying some farmers as it was a little too early for the monsoon.  People were out in their fields working, 
which meant there were less people inside!

Ramon and I had had a lovely Sabbath School class with the little ones.  Here is a picture of the class taken two weeks post-earthquake and just a few days before the second one!

After Sabbath School, Ramon went to prepare himself for an upcoming C-section, and I went to the church foyer with some books for the little ones to look at during church.

Right in front of us was the door into the church and to the right was the door to the outside.

To the left of the above picture is the front of the church (our church is now in a different location and yes, they were preparing to move during this time, but hadn't moved yet obviously) and you will see there is another door in the front right, which was another blessing.

OK, so all the preliminaries were over and the people settled in to enjoy a sermon by a visitor.
Suddenly there was a loud noise and a shaking.
It was like a loud boom and creaking and it got louder and the shaking got worse.
Everyone looked at each other for that split second.  "OH NO!"
The noise and shaking intensified and there was no doubt as to what was happening.
I could see that door frame moving from side to side.  I thought the ceiling would fall on us!
Mothers grabbed their children and everyone rushed outside.
(I found out later that those farthest from the doors got under their chairs until the initial
rolling ended and then they rushed outside before the next rolling started.)
We looked at each other and grabbed each other while the earth trembled,
shook, rattled and rolled under our feet.  We were all in the same boat, so we hugged
whoever was closet to us whether we knew them or not.

In my mind I didn't have time to think, but it seemed so unreal, yet it was real.
If I thought anything at all it was just "OH NO!  This isn't real."

I had the same thoughts many years ago when I was hit by an 18-wheeler semi-truck
and he pushed my car for awhile until I rolled upside down through the oncoming traffic!
"OH NO!  This isn't real."  But that's another story!

The shaking stopped for a second and I ran back inside the building (yes, I did!),
picked up my books like a mad woman and ran back outside.

Ramon called me and said, "Where are you?" and I answered, "I'm walking with everyone to the back of the hosp..." and we were cut off!  I didn't have any idea what was happening with him for some time.  You can imagine how difficult that was.  All I could do was pray.  The phones didn't work for some time and were off and on for several days actually.

I continued walking with everyone to the back of the hospital where there is an area of flat land.

 (You may recognize some of the pictures that have been posted on the hospital's blog.)

Everyone was still holding hands with each other and hugging each other.
"Are you alright?"  "Are you alright?"  Many people were crying.

The ground kept "booming" and shaking.  There was a collective shout from everyone each time.
Injured people started arriving in a steady stream and triage commenced.


Lots of people ran into the hospital and helped bring out patients and mattresses.

Nepalese army soldiers arrived and immediately started helping where needed.

I tried to stay out of the way.  Sometimes I even had to jump to get out of the way.  Many ladies and girls, many crying, came up to me, hugged me, held my hands and asked me to pray with them.  They didn't know who I was but they knew I would pray with them.

I noticed a pregnant girl sitting by herself, hugging herself and crying.  I went over to her
and she grabbed me and pulled me to sit with her.  We hugged each other during each aftershock and
held hands in between.  She spoke a little English and I discovered that her husband was working
in the west of Nepal and her parents were in Kathmandu.  With the phones down, she didn't know
how any of them were.  She was trembling and I was glad to be of some comfort to her. 

After about an hour, those of us sitting where we were, were asked to go down to another
flat area and make room for more tarps and mattresses as the patients kept coming.

We headed down to this area:


I spent most of this time continuing to hug and pray with ladies and girls who asked me to.
They continued coming to me and I was happy to pray with them and just hug those
who needed a hug and a shoulder to cry on.  Yes, the aftershocks continued.  (Remember I said earlier that we are still having them!)  I'm not ashamed to tell you that I cried myself now and then.
The uncertainty of what might happen was emotionally draining.

We had some visitors on campus that I also visited with, prayed with, and held hands with!
There were two ladies from Australia who sponsor an orphanage near Kathmandu and were with us for a few hours.  Two student nurses from Finland were also with us, as well as three travelers, two girls from Argentina and one from Spain.  They had been on a bus from Nagarkot, that beautiful village with the amazing views, to Kathmandu when the earthquake hit just as they were in the middle of Banepa!  The bus stopped, obviously, and someone told them to come to our campus where they would be as safe as possible.  They stayed with us for a few days, until they were able to be evacuated.  My previous post mentions Nagarkot--if you missed it, click here.  If you missed my posts about Nagarkot, and want to read them (and see the amazing pics--you can't take a bad picture there!), click "Nagarkot" where it says, "Labels" on the right side of the blog.

 No one knew anything about what was  happening anywhere.  Some people listened to the news on car radios and told us the little bit they could find out.  Patients were telling what was happening in Banepa, although I didn't find out what they said until later.  I realized that I would have to wait until I could call my mom and sister, whenever that would be (!), and have them tell us what
was happening, since I knew they'd be watching it on the news!

Anyway, I still didn't know where my husband was.  I kept scanning the crowd for him.  Couldn't see him!  Couldn't ask a busy doctor or nurse and take them away from what they were doing!

I ran up to the canteen (quickly, as it was scary to run up stairs) and took this shot.
No Ramon.  Boo!

On the way back down, I saw this sad sight.
When I saw these bloody gloves hurriedly tossed aside, with no time to be thrown away properly,
the part of my brain which still wanted to think, "This isn't real!" knew that it was real
and I felt so sad.  "Lord help us," was all I could say.

When did I find Ramon?
Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out!!!

Again, thanks to all of you who are supporting the relief efforts here
and thanks for all of your prayers!
Have a nice day and a lovely and blessed weekend!



Thursday, May 14, 2015

May 12 Earthquake!

May 12--another earthquake!

My word--it was the very next day after I posted the last post!

It was scary, I won't sugarcoat it.  We didn't have time to pray!
This is why I'm glad we prayed in the morning!

I've been working at home, because my new office is on the third floor of the hospital
and I didn't really want to go up there!

So, anyway, I was called up there for something
and had just said, "This is my first time to work up here since the earthquake because
I've been afraid to come up here for longer than a minute!"

THEN, there was a very loud noise, and the first shakes!
YIKES!  Say it isn't so!  It's so!  GO!

The building kept shaking badly and we all ran to the doorway,
which, by the way, we do at home when there's a strong aftershock.

However, this didn't stop and it was obviously the second earthquake many feared
was going to come, and as predicted, we found out later, was east of the big one.
We made a run for it down the stairs with the building shaking the whole time.

By the way, all day today, off and on, I've felt tremors.  Please keep praying!
We'll be sleeping in (Ramon) scrubs and (me) sweats so we can run outside in the night if we need to.
We'd been sleeping that way for two weeks and had just started wearing pajamas again.
Now, however, it's back to scrubs/sweats!

Here is the hospital's post of what happened:
http://scheermemorialhospital.blogspot.com/2015/05/earthquake-part-8-may-11-again.html

We are thankful that we are OK, but so sad for the devastation upon devastation.

The famous beautiful tourist town of Nagarkot was near the epicenter.
Remember this picture of my mom and me with the very tip top of Mt. Everest to the left of Mom?
Nagarkot!

This was also taken there!  You can't take a bad picture!

Here's our Nagarkot selfie:

Here's an article about what happened in Nagarkot.  I'm so sad.
http://therisingnepal.org.np/news/3457

The hotel we stayed at is the one called Club Himalaya.
To see pics, go to the "Labels" and click Nagarkot.

Here's an article about this quake.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/nepal/11600834/Second-earthquake-brings-Nepal-crashing-down-again.html

When you read about Sindupalchowk,
please note that it is the same place in the previous post where the team went.

Thanks again for your prayers and support.
Have a blessed day!

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Trip to a Village

Hi!

Hope everyone is having a nice week and that you had a lovely Mother's Day with your family!
I had a lovely talk with my mom, sister, and family,
and Ramon did too.

Here, we are still experiencing aftershocks, some too strong for my liking!
However, we are thankful that our house is OK and we can sleep inside
(I'm sleeping in sweats in case we have to rush out!)
and have electricity, water, internet, and even cable TV!  

No, we didn't make it to a village, but some of our doctors have been going to badly affected areas.
To read about one such trip, jump on over to the hospital's blog:


I think their experiences are typical of the relief teams.

Here are a few pictures of my recent trip to Kathmandu:


A huge tent city in a huge town square:



Look how one is down and one is still up!
It's probably very likely that the one up has cracks though.

The owners of the intact houses are inviting homeless friends and family members into their homes.
This is very nice to note.

Well, very tired, so will quit for now.
Thanks for care and concern and prayers.
More soon.
Take care and God bless!


Sunday, May 3, 2015

An Earthquake Story

Hello!

First of all, thank you for all the love and support we are feeling over here in Nepal!
There are still aftershocks (two or three about about hour ago)
and life is extremely difficult for many people.

This BBC article is pretty comprehensive.

We are OK, thankfully, and busy as you can imagine--especially Ramon!

He has been on CNN Espanol along with the other doctors.

He's also been in a newspaper in Paraguay!

Here he is talking on the phone to a reporter in Paraguay.

I think he has talked to three.
Twice a radio station tried to talk to him live, but it didn't work out.
Maybe later.

I've not been able to update this blog with our experiences yet, 
but I did get a story out for the hospital's blog.
If you want to read it, here it is:  

It's the story of these folks.

For now, I'll say Bye and put up a happy sight I saw today.
This adorable little boy is still healing from his head wounds.  You can see the bandages.
However, he's up now and PLAYING!  What a beautiful sight!
He wasn't running, but he was playing!!!  He's getting better!

Yeah!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Earthquake!

The Earthquake!  Oh dear.  We are so sad for our beloved Nepal.  What a week this has been.  It's unreal and I keep thinking I'm going to wake up and say to Ramon, "MAN, what a nightmare I had!"  We are thankfully OK and have just been very, very busy as you can imagine, with no time to update this.  Plus, we didn't have internet for several days.  I have updated the hospital's blog, which is my job, so head on over there any time you'd like to check it out:

This picture sadly says the reality of too many families.

Thanks to everyone who prayed for us and please keep praying for everyone!!!

I still don't have time to make a "real" post, so for those of you who didn't see this on Facebook, 
I'm just going post a link to a newspaper article about our hospital (and yes, Ramon is mentioned)
from a newspaper in India.  It will give you a quick update.

By the way, Ramon is the one who set up the intensive care unit on the lawn. 

Sadly, the death toll has risen too much since this was written.

Thank you to everyone for your prayers.  Keep them coming!
We still are having aftershocks.  My legs sometimes feel like jelly.

Blessings to all.



Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ihi and Bahra

Ihi and Bahra!

Hmmm?  Do you know what those are?

(If this is too long, feel free to read it in two parts!)

Don't worry if you're not from here and you don't know.  
I didn't know what they were before I moved here.

They are types of marriages.  Yes!
I have never been to an Ihi ceremony, but I have been to (parts of) two Bahra ceremonies.

Here's how I learned about the Ihi ceremony.
One of my little female students was absent for a few days.  When she returned to school,
I asked her if she had been sick.  "Oh no," she said, "I had my marriage to my fruit."

Hmmm?  

Of course, I had to look it up.  Click the Wikipedia article to read about it.

A foot of a Newar girl is pictured during an Ihi ceremony in Kathmandu.
(Click this link to learn more.  Thank you for the great article Gopal Sharma.)

You can see that this custom is practiced among many of the Newari people,
who are indigenous to the Kathmandu Valley.  Since we are in the Kathmandu Valley,
many of the people who live here are Newari.
To read about their culture, I recommend Wikipedia again.

OK, now, what is Bahra?  (It's referred to in Gopal Sharma's article.)

Here's Wikipedia's article:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahra_ceremony

As mentioned, I have been to the reception of two Bahra ceremonies.
There were not exactly alike.

The first one was the Bahra reception of two cousins, both of whom were my English students.
It was in the Chandeswori Temple, which is down the street, where I attended
the wedding reception mentioned in this recent post (if you missed it):

We walked to the temple, which only takes about five minutes.

I was with some of the teachers from the school, some school friends of the girls, and my niece,
who was volunteering here at the time.  We walked through the courtyard,

where the other wedding reception was and into the building, where I had never been before,

and into this hallway where the girls sitting with their family members.

Guests were seated on the opposite wall.
(Yes, that's my beautiful niece!  Can't wait to see her and the rest
of the family when we go on vacation, which won't actually be for awhile!)

Here are the sweet little friends of the girls.  They have since "graduated" from
our school and moved onward and upward.  Occasionally I bump into one or two
of them in Banepa and it's so nice to see how they are growing up into lovely young ladies!

Our principal was invited to participate in the festivities.


The cooks did a great job!


Now, I'll show you a few pics of the second (and more recent) Bahra reception I went to.
Again, this was for an English student of mine.
Her cousins were also participating at the same time.  It was a family affair,
as their little brothers were also having a ceremony of their own.

This time the reception was at an uncle's home up on a hillside just outside of Banepa.
It's a beautiful walk.

Lots of friends and family were attending.  See the girls sitting there on the right?

We waited in line to greet them.

People were giving them gifts, including rice, which was touched to their heads.

  This is one of our teachers giving our student our gift,

and her cousins a smaller gift

and a tika.

Not to be outdone, the little brothers also received gifts and tikas.
I confess that I never found out exactly what their ceremony was.
(If you know, please let me know!)


Look how adorable they are!

Well, now you know what I saw when I went to Bahra wedding reception ceremonies!

Have a nice day, a blessed week, and thanks for your continued prayers!