"Yesterday was one of those heart and health stretching days that Nepal and India specialize in. We left before dawn to travel out to Sindhupalchok region "worst affected" in earthquake (in words of Kathmandu locals). The Bellingen community, Bellingen Chamber of Commerce and OzGREEN have raised funds to support reconstruction.
After 5 hours of body jarring bumping over mountain tracks severely damaged by landslides and earthquake (that tested my travel buddies motion sickness) we arrived in a beautiful village perched precariously on the steep mountain side (as they all are!). Just when I am feeling like it was all too much, we are greeted by smiling monks and villagers, offered refreshments and join in the prayers being offered as part of a 5-day festival. We walk through the village of 4000 people. It had been hit hard by the earthquake. 220 killed, 800 homes damaged and destroyed. Heart breaking to witness. They are now living in temporary tin shacks that provide little shelter from freezing temperatures.
Our return journey saw us arriving in Kathmandu after dark, in time for peak hour traffic. Unbelievable fumes and traffic jams caused by kilometers long queues for petroleum. Our return journey also saw us passing over mountain top just as sun is setting, a stiff breeze clearing away cloud to reveal spectacular views of Himalayan snow capped peaks. Every pore inside and out feels clogged with dust and fumes. Last before collapsing into bed was a debrief with Rahul Barua from South Asia Foundation. He tells me 500,000 homes were destroyed in earthquake.”