“Good morning, or kuzuzangpo la, as we say in Bhutan –
The sun is still hidden away this early morning as the rain blankets the mountains another day. It has been nearly 90 hours since the earth began shaking these magnificent mountains on Saturday, and yesterday was the first day we went through without feeling the house move from aftershocks.
We have located all 30 of our READ Nepal staff and so pleased to report that everyone survived and is safe. They are struggling with their families while living outside in open areas as their homes are either damaged or fears of further collapses keep them from returning indoors. The situation in Kathmandu is difficult but the aid is beginning to flow as cargo planes filled with supplies reach the airport.
The rest of Nepal where as much as 90 percent of the 28 million Nepalis live in remote mountainside villages is just now being revealed for the extensive destruction done by the earthquake. When I lived with the monks in Pharping a few years back and they told me they came from remote villages in the north of Nepal where their families settled after fleeing Tibet, and I asked what they meant by “remote”, they educated me that to get home they would take a bus for one or two days, and then walk for another three or four days on mountain paths to reach their villages. Several months later, I walked many of those paths on my way to Mt. Everest base camp and truly learned the meaning of remote.
Today, many of those remote homes were destroyed as villages succumbed to the quake. National Geographic reported this story yesterday: Nepali Mountain Villages ‘Completely Washed Away’ By Quake
We are gathering information on the status of our 59 READ community centers across Nepal and while some are damaged or gone and will need rebuilding, we have heard that several surviving structures are serving their communities as shelters, health services, information centers, and even offering cellphone charging with the center’s solar panels so that community members can call their families in Kathmandu.
In these difficult times, I find inspiration in the roots of the READ Global story. It was 24 years ago, along one of those remote mountain paths that a traveler asked a simple question of her Sherpa guide – What can I do for your village? His response was simple – a community center library – so that his people could gather together and have access to education.
As of last week, that READ Center in the remote mountain village of Junbesi was still standing and filled with a community gathering together. The building may be gone today but we will work tirelessly to rebuild the center and bring restoration and hope to the community, and to all the communities we serve in Nepal.
As the media in the States turns the news cycle towards the chaos in Baltimore and the circus of Bruce Jenner, I want to send this message back to my not so remote home village – we need your help.
Please take a moment to consider partnering with us in this process of restoring, rebuilding, and replenishing the hope of the Nepali people.
Online support can be made here: http://readglobal.org/nepal-earthquake-fund
Checks can be sent to our U.S. office at: READ Global, P.O. Box 29286, San Francisco, CA 94129
READ Global is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and your donation is fully tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
I will leave you with two things. Firstly, my sincere thankfulness for your prayers and support. We have received both from individuals in the States that I once knew and know well, some I worked with and others are family of origin and otherwise, prayers from those who practice five times a day and words of encouragement from often silent voices. To all, my heart says – thank you.
Lastly, I have attached one of my favorite pictures from my time in Nepal. It is of three of those monks from those remote villages, whose homes may be gone but their smiles endure.
With grace and hope…”