On April 25th, tragedy struck Nepal. In the country’s largest earthquake since 1934, countless buildings were destroyed and over 8,000 people were killed with an additional 19,000 injuries reported. Even though it has almost been one month since the earthquake occurred, much of Nepal is still in ruin and desperately needs assistance from the global community.
Many mainstream news outlets have reported heavily on the situation in Nepal , but it seems like they weren’t telling the whole story. Major news companies were there as soon as the earthquake occurred, but have turned to more sensational stories as time has gone by. But just because it isn’t covered as much, it doesn’t mean it isn’t still going on. I was frustrated by the typical coverage I witnessed, so I attempted to find out more about what life is really like in Nepal.
That’s why I tracked down Shirish Bohara, a Nepalese individual living in the devastated capital of Kathmandu and doing all he can to help his country rebuild. He was happy to tell me his story, and what he told me made me perceive the situation in Nepal in a whole new light. It is one thing to hear of a tragedy, almost disconnectedly through the news or social media, and a completely different thing to hear directly from someone who has lived through these experiences. It is a deeply personal undertaking to tell complete strangers about a traumatic experience, and I hope this interview helps the average individual understand the real situation in Nepal right now. Please note that revisions were made for grammatical clarity of content, as Shirish is still in the process of mastering English.
1) Where were you when the earthquake happened and what was it like?– I reached my hometown from Kathmandu, which is 500 km West from the epicenter of the earthquake, so it was far from the epicenter. We still felt it greatly, but there was not widespread destruction in this city compared to other cities like Kathmandu and towns closer to the epicenter.
2) Can you talk about how devastated Kathmandu was after the earthquake?- It was really a big earthquake so obviously there was lots of destruction. Kathmandu is also known as the city of temples and has many old monuments, so the destruction was mainly in those places and lots of houses at the same time.
3) What has life been like after the disaster happened? – Life has been very hard, as people have become frightened due to the earthquake. It has still been a nightmare for us. Even though the earthquake was only one minute, it has changed the whole city and the country.
4) Do you think enough relief has gone to the affected areas and how could we improve it? – We have had lots of support from the international community through donations and various rescue teams to Nepal. It’s really great seeing people around the world helping in their own ways.
5) Are schools open right now? How have young adults been affected by the quake?- School are shut down after the quake but will be open in a month. It has killed many young people but for now young people are doing volunteer work and as much as they can they for the country.
6) What inspired you to start your organization, IVOLUNTOURNEPAL , and how have you been able to help people?- Actually, I was previously a member of the world’s largest youth organization from Nepal, and after my successful term there I wanted to start my own organization to help both the country and for international youth so I decided to promote my country and provide a wide range of volunteer opportunities in Nepal.
7) What message would you give to a foreigner to your country who wants to help but doesn’t know how?- This is a natural disaster and can happen in any part of the world. But even though we are shaken, we are not fallen. However, we still need help and support from around the world and need people to come to Nepal to help and experience our beautiful country. If they don’t know how to, then please feel free to contact our organization IVOLUNTOURNEPAL and I would like to also thank Sam Gorman for his interest in Nepal and for wanting to do this in this phase of time.
So there you have it, a firsthand look at what life is really like in Nepal. Conditions have improved, but these individuals still need our help. That’s why I encourage you to go to the organization Shirish has started and learn more about the conditions in his country and how you can get involved.
I also urge you to consider donating to a relief fund for Nepal, specifically to the The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or simply UNHCR. They are an extremely credible source, and your contribution will go directly towards alleviating suffering in the many ravaged areas of Nepal. Looking at this situation through the eyes of people who have actually lived it is infinitely more enlightening then seeing it through countless statistics and graphs. We owe it to Shirish and the many others who have opened their hearts and made the choice to tell us their story. Will we open our hearts in return and make the choice to help these people?
Interview By: Sam Gorman, Founder of Youngchange-Bestchange