foxit_acrobat (foxit_acrobat) wrote,

Positive in Negative. Nepal.

Оригинал взят у chaika_stal в Positive in Negative. Nepal.
I met Alice and Andrew, as well as many other outstanding people, at the monastery of shaman Lama Wangdu Rinpoche near the Bodhanath stupa in Kathmandu. It was somewhere around two weeks after the earthquake had started in Nepal. Andrei from Kiev, as well as a lot of my other friends from Ukraine, had 8 months ago started their “around the world trip”. Alice had been travelling for 2 years already.
Back home Alice has only one family member – her grandmother. 2 years ago she flew to Thailand with a one-way ticket and 100 dollars in her pocket. With no plans, any support, but with the desire for change. Alice firmly descended from a gangway aircraft onto the shaky ground of Indochina. I know about 5 more stories like that between my friends. All of them have been on their way now for 2, 3, or even 4 years.
Photo by Andrew Kostiuk


In Thailand Alice worked as a guide and an English teacher, in India as a Bollywood actress, and back home she worked in Moscow at Mosfilm. Alice and Andrew met in India through Couch-Surfing and went together to Nepal. Crossing the India-Nepal border, they missed their morning bus to Kathmandu and were stuck for some time in a noisy, dusty, border village. Meanwhile, their morning bus, which retired on schedule at 7.30, flew down onto the rocks and crashed.

Photo from social networks "Rare Photos: the wild bus drinking water from the river."


A month and a half later, on June 13th 2015, in front of our eyes on the Newgaun road in Kathmandu, two motorcyclists crashed; they did not fit together into the mountain turn and crashed at full speed into the cliff. We were the only witnesses of the incident. When we got to the victims, they were still alive. On that day, we returned with Julian on a motorcycle from the almost entirely earthquake destroyed village Newgaun Sindhupalchowk district back to Kathmandu.


Julian and I met a week earlier at a meeting of activists in Kathmandu. Julian, from Saint Petersburg, having already spent a month and half with a group of his friends from Russia and Ukraine, had been raising funds and as a self-organized independent group of volunteers, delivering humanitarian aid to the remote arias of Nepal. This group, without the help of a local NGO and just by themselves, collected the money, and from beginning to end organized trips to the villages. And on 13th June this was the first such independent trip for me.
When Alice and Andrew got to Kathmandu, they stopped again with someone from the Couch-Surfing social network. Their host Dipesh was a 23 years old Nepali. Before the earthquake occurred, he lived with his parents in an old house in Kathmandu. During the last year he hosted through the Couch-Surfing social network more than 80 travellers for free. In his 23 years Dipesh had become convinced that the relationship between strangers should be developed around the idea of mutual aid.
When Alice and Andrew received the first donation of money for the earthquake victims, the first tent they bought they gave to Dipesh’s family. By that time everything the family owned had to be moved to live on the street. Their house was completely falling down.
Dipesh and his family had not always lived in Kathmandu; before they had lived in the Newgaun village, in the Sindhupalchowk district. Because of a conflict between Dipesh’ family and their relatives, Dipesh and his parents were forced to leave the village and move to the old house in Kathmandu. However neither Dipesh nor his family were angry with their relatives, and when disaster struck, they were aiming to provide help to the people at their village back at their original home, especially as in the six weeks after the earthquake started, the villagers of Newgaun hadn’t received any help.


However; the act of delivering the humanitarian aid independently was much more difficult to complete than we thought. Although we did not have much money, just 500 dollars, it was enough for 30 tents and a little more left for transport and gifts for the kids. At that moment the tents were the greatest necessity on the list as the monsoon was just starting and a lot of people were living without roofs. But even this small action took almost another 2 weeks to prepare. Firstly it was necessary to get permission from the municipality to allow our truck, loaded with tents, to pass through the check points and get to the remote village. Secondly, it was necessary to organize 4 guards to come with us, and specifically it should be two policemen and two military personnel. Thirdly we had to get a list with names of the villagers who needed the aid. Usually activists would complete research in the remote area first to evaluate the conditions and get the list with the names, as otherwise there would be a strong likelihood that the municipality will not count the low casts and so called “untouchables”- the cast below the lowest. Finally, it was necessary to find out where it is cheapest to buy the tents, and through whom it is better to hire a truck, as well as make contact with the head of the district municipality and persuade him to accompany us.
This lengthy bureaucratic chain had already brought us to our knees. It is naive to think that on arrival in the affected areas you will see the happy faces of the local people and wide-open eyes of children. This is usually what is waiting for you - aggressive beings both male and female, who are ready at any moment to pounce on you and the truck, and similarly aggressive kids who try to climb onto the truck from all the sides. And you are lucky if you see these people at the final point of your destination because locals often block the roads and try to attack the trucks with humanitarian aid. The odds of getting to the village you planning to go to, without any guards in your truck, are not great.
About three weeks ago I personally was in a situation where, in the village where we brought humanitarian aid, there was conflict beginning between the locals. This escalated to fighting with knifes; we were on three trucks and without any guards. It was because we had locals from that village with us the NGO leaders who organized the trip thought it was not so dangerous.
In short, we had nothing to do, but jump in to the trucks and drive back to Kathmandu. There were about 15 teenagers with us as volunteers, so we couldn’t do much about the conflict over the humanitarian aid.


It is useless to judge people for such behaviour; you just need to follow the simple rules in Nepal that at first glance seem bureaucratic red tape. Starvation, woe for dead relatives, and despair, can bring such an animal state to anyone. And the only chance to check your own behaviour in such conditions is to be in a similar situation yourself, which hopefully will not happen to anyone.
On the morning of 13th June, in one of the most sacred stupas in Bodhanath, Kathmandu, ceremonies were held for those who died in the first earthquake. We were all supposed to meet here, Alice, Andrew, Julian, Dipesh and an employee of the municipality, to purchase everything we needed to go to the remote village Newgaun. We were supposed to meet at 11 near the big bell at the Bodhanath stupa, but the Nepalese were 45 minutes late, and Julian was 1 hour late. But the crashed bus had taught us some good lessons so nobody really minded waiting for an hour.

foto Anil Keshary Shah Nepali

At 12 noon the whole group left to the market to buy the tents. In total we had 500 dollars with us. It was enough for 30 of the biggest tents (18h12m). We also spent 3,000 rupees to buy crayons, coloured pencils, notebooks and albums for children, and another 3,000 rupees was spent on the rental truck to the village and back.
When we arrived at Nawgaun, the truck was immediately surrounded by disgruntled Nepalese who tried to challenge the validity of the lists with the names of victims. They were explaining that their brothers in the area also needed the aid. But the police and the military, who were traveling with us, quietly convinced them of their errors of their ways. So we understood; it was clearly not a mistake to take the guards with us. With the presence of the police children were also quieter; although all the same time they still jumped onto the truck and tried to stick their hands in all possible slots.


So, we waited until all the people from our list gathered near the truck, and we distributed tents to the adults, and the albums and crayons to the children. Several children were left without parents after the earthquake and were left wandering through the village from house to house; they also get the tents from us.
After that we walked a little on the outskirts of the village. We saw all the damage and then went back to Kathmandu.


From the Newgaun village we, with Julian, went to a charity concert at one of the restaurants in the Patan area in Kathmandu. There we met with a group of his friends - independent volunteers from Russia and Ukraine. This day we spoke a lot about the methods of personal interaction with the outside world through the chakras (energy channels). Julian explained that the habits and attitudes coming from inertia (in yoga this is called “Tamas”) is limited by socialization of consciousness through the lower chakras. These represent animal instincts; survival, reproduction, competition. Volunteering and ideas of mutual aid offer the opportunity to develop our minds through the upper chakras, starting with the heart (anahata) to the head (sahasrara).
Of course, the beings that interact with the outside world through the upper energy channels can have a very different motivation. For some it is a duty, for others it is a personal development. A third group just cannot imagine themselves living any other way. For a forth group this is the way of life which brings not just satisfaction, but I would say an eternal high, the ability to interact with others with the same attitude. Others are best described by the song; "the comrades, who are ready to die for an idea." And here we are speaking not about certain particular ideas, but about the qualities of consciousness which can be developed. So, we are speaking not about form or direction, but about the inside colour of the mind, about the way of socializing through the arts, which is very far away from the rational logic of materialistic thinking.


Larisa Matteyssen, Kathmandu.
fotos by Andrew Kostiuk
English edition by James Ward
Tags: earthquake, help, humanitarian aid, monsoon, mute help, nepal, volunreers
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