5:50 I wake up before the bell rings. It has been rain and thunderstorms during the night so I do not feel completely rested. The tent was fortunately waterproof. I make breakfast, porridge with apple and cinnamon, I drink my coffee and apricot juice. It is a bit cloudy and misty this morning.
7:00 Now the sun comes out! I go to refill water and then photograph a little. I have started taking more photos now considering the book we are going to make.
7:30 I go up to the Home of Hope to do some measuring and I’m thinking about how to build better and safer housing that can candle potential future earthquakes.
8:30 I sit in the shade of a mango tree along with goats, chickens and a few children while I’m sketching the building structures of the Home of Hope for the next meeting with Nepalese construction engineer who will come to the village. No clarity as to when someone is able to come one is able to come up to the village. There are so many houses to be re-built again so they have enough on their hands I believe.
11:20 I go and have lunch and today I have 2 bars and some water. It’s so hot so I do not really feel like cooking today.
12:00 Shyam and I go off to visit the orphanage children and see how the other villagers are getting on. We look at the status of the need for tarpaulin and try to find out where they are most needed. We have distributed 46 tarpaulin pieces so far and we still have 40 to distribute. Many on the road talk to us and tell us how they are doing and how they dealt with the earthquakes.
12:30 We stop at the Home of Hope on the way and reason about how we should proceed with future building constructions. Shyam says we cannot start reconstruction work until the monsoon is over and all the roads are repaired. We believe that we will be able to start in early September. Shyam guesses that it will take until the New Year, depending on how many people we can get involved. So maybe we can have the inauguration in January. It all depends on how many people we can get together, everyone is so committed to building their own houses so we’ll have to see.
12:45 We go on, almost everyone we pass, we talk with, to invite us to berries and home-brewed rice beer so it takes some time.
13:00 Arriving at child number 4 Preeti Lama and we talk to her about her earthquake experience. The house she lives in with Grandma and Grandpa is completely destroyed. Today, the shed they live in, they have built it out of old plate. She was on the field and worked when the first earthquake came and she feels worried about new earthquakes. She wonders if we are to build the Home of Hope again and when I tell her that we shall be, she gets very happy! I feel a little surprised when I hear that the information that we will build up the Home of Hope again isn’t really getting around. She invites us to berries from the jungle. Here they refer to the forest as the jungle, they tell me there are three kinds of monkeys and even some form of leopard living in the jungle. It strikes me that it’s probably why they take their goats and dogs inside during the night.
14:00 Arriving at children number 7, Sorajacti Nepali is a girl who is 14 years old. Nepali means that it is low-caste, a Nepali cannot actually go into Shyams house because he is a higher caste, but Shyam ignores this and so does his family. They believe that all people are equal and that feels good to hear. She says that she was gathering food for the goats in the jungle by herself when the first earthquake came. She tells me that she felt very worried that all her relatives were dead, and that she would be left alone for the rest of her life. Thankfully no one in her family died during the earthquake. It feels very meaningful to visit these children, they get so excited when Shyam and I come to visit.
14:40 We have now gone steeply downhill for about 400 meters, to a little village that looks totally obliterated from the top. In the village 5 people died in the first earthquake, says Shyam. Possibly we have new orphan child there. It is a little girl and her mother and two sisters died when the house collapsed over them. But the little girl was dug out alive underneath her mother and two older sisters. She is about 4-5 years old. It is so incredibly emotional when the father tells me about this, so it was the father and this little girl who survived. I get quite tearful. We decide upon nothing today, Shyam and Karma will come back and do an interview, all in accordance with the admissions process. In Nepal, it has been difficult to take care of their children as single parents. Here we also meet child number 2. Purna Kumari Thapa. She has moved down to her aunt from the top of the mountain after the first earthquake and we did not know anything about it. She is happy to see us, she tells us that she was on the toilet when the first earthquake came. She was really scared and she feels very worried about more earthquakes. She lights up when she hears that we will build up the Home of Hope again.
15:30 After a clear, sweaty and heart-pounding climb of about 500 m, we stop where Shyam’s uncle is living, and we are treated to fried bread and peaches (they have some small peach trees up here, it looks like plums but it tastes like peaches). I eat them after I make sure I washed all of them thoroughly.
15:50 Now I am at home at the children number 5 and 6, Shree Krishna Thapa and Radhika Thapa. They are staying with their Grandma and Grandpa with another two young children who are their cousins. Both are excited to see us, especially Radhika, she is always be very happy to see me. They were on the field when the earthquake came and they ran to the middle of field during the earthquake. They do not feel scared anymore, there have been so many quakes now so they do not think about it so much. Their house has collapsed, it’s like one big earth mound. They also become very excited when they hear that with 100% certainty we will build the Home of Hope again, as they long to get there.
16:20 An invitation to rice beer comes around again when we pass people’s places on the way home. Shyam drinks two cups but I decline in the fear of getting sick.
16:40 At home by my tent now and I am a little tired. Mixing a rehydration solution as I think of Sophie. I make my way to some shade to write my diary of the day. I try to send the pictures but it is unfortunately not currently working.
17:40 Now the diary is finished, I go and wash up at “my” waterfall.
18:45 I call Sophie to transfer the day’s events. The telephone line is much better today. A thought strikes me that I am probably starting to become accustomed to the misery. All the people we visited today live on ground, in sheds that at best have four walls or under tarpaulin pieces that are built into the tent. The people are squeezed into 8-10 sqm rooms and sleep directly on the ground with all their neighbors with buffaloes, chickens and goats. It feels very good that we have contributed with sleeping mats, but it is still horrible to see their conditions. Outside their sheds and tarpaulin tents are their houses in ruins that they have, for generations, worked together to build. When I think of this, I feel very sad. Tomorrow we will visit the rest of the orphan children, we will go climb up to the top of the mountain to visit the children that live there. Thank you and good night!