I am in Kathmandu staying at a local relief camp run by a wonderful group of Nepali volunteers. They are called Global Karuna (which means “Global compassion”) and led by a young inspiring charismatic visionary Buddhist Monk named Venerable Metteyya Sakyapatta. They have been working tirelessly for the past 19 days accumulating and distributing supplies which have been sent from this camp to over 200 villages in 15 districts. Metteyya has even chartered helicopter reconnaissance trips to areas inaccessible due to damaged roads. I am inspired by these volunteers many of whom are schoolchildren who have worked so hard running this camp.
Kathmandu is not the bustling city that it once was. More than half the people have fled the city after the second earthquake. Schools are closed as well as many businesses. The people who have remained are fearful of further aftershocks and continue to sleep outside under tarps or in tents. They smile at me but I sense a feeling of anxiety as they grapple with a street rumor that yet another big earthquake will hit today.
Today, I went to the local pharmacy to replenish their dwindling supply of basic medicines with the initial donated funds from the Barnabas Health employees and Life is Great Global Foundation. It is my belief that Metteyya and his volunteers can make the best use of our relief funds. I will be preparing detailed reports of items purchased and where they will be sent going forward.
Efforts are now focused on helping the vulnerable communities survive the impending monsoon season which will bring dangerous landslides, infectious diseases from poor sanitation all highlighting the need for safe shelter. Thus, the most pressing items are tarps, tents, blankets, basic medicines, and building materials. Most can be purchased locally in Kathmandu except for tarps which have to be imported from India.
Tomorrow I will be visiting one of the the hardest hit areas which is a 4 hour bumpy ride in a jeep. I am both excited and anxious as to what devastation awaits me.
Tonight, I have pitched my tent alongside the volunteers and people here in the camp comforted by the knowledge that the sun will rise tomorrow.