Update on Friends of Tulku Nepal,
The days since the second earthquake have been full of deep and poignant conversations between myself and our friends Rajendra, Kiran and Pravin in Kathmandu. This earthquake brought on further destruction and loss, as well as powerful new waves of fear and uncertainty amongst the people of Nepal.
From the tarp he is sleeping under, Rajendra tells me of the gripping anxiety he is feeling as he, his extended family and community are huddled together outside, trying to sleep, praying another big one won’t come. He has not told them he learned that scientists are saying it is likely more big ones might come.
That evening his community shared dinner in their courtyard with over 600 people who are suffering from lack of water and food. They are afraid to venture into the streets beyond their courtyard. The old buildings that remain in the ancient traditional area of Patan are precariously tilted waiting to fall, and they may come down at any time. Their children are not going to school, and work life has stopped. Rajendra has been told that half of his home is dangerous and uninhabitable. He and his extended family members are sharing one small room to live in at this time. When the second earthquake hit he had just donated and delivered a metal sheet as a temporary roof for some people who lost their home.
Kiran was in his small jewelry shop at the time, working with an elderly Tibetan woman who came in to sell her jewelry in order to have money to give for aid. The earthquake hit and they huddled together with Kiran’s children and wife in the doorway of the shop. They said it was like waves in the ocean.
He has pooled large sums of his own money with donated money from us and from some local friends. With co-workers Tenzin and Norbu, Kiran is taking our aid in the form of shelter, food and water to local village areas where it is most needed. Along with his family, Kiran’s own back yard is filled with 50-60 people camping out and using his facilities. This is one of the only “safe zones” in his area.
After the second earthquake, the old house that is the location for Pravin’s offices and galleries suffered extensive damage. People are afraid to come into work and it is also too early to begin fixing it, as more earthquakes are likely. The courtyard where their production happens is filled with local people who are living there, being provided with food and shelter for an indefinite time.
Still, inspiration is present and spirits are positive. Beautiful realizations rise up amongst the chaos and suffering. Last night in our conversation, Pravin said—
“Now I understand why my mother started her day making offerings to the earth and then going to the roof and lighting the butter lamp and doing puja to the Sun and the Moon. She was honoring Mother Nature and our relationship with Her. We have to go back to those ways. Now it all makes sense.”
Pravin’s mother was a traditional Newari. Rajendra and his family still keep those ways but fewer do these days. It’s time to bring them back. The Gods are asking us to honor them and to remember our relationship with our Earth Mother.
The earthquake in Nepal and the suffering of the Nepali people is a strong reminder to the world to give thanks every day for this precious life and for our great Earth Mother’s abundance and generosity.
Please stay connected via Facebook
for more stories, photographs and updates from Nepal.
On behalf of Rajendra, Mata, Kiran, Pravin and myself, we send you love
with deepest gratitude for your support and prayers,
“People have been disregarding the Earth—most especially drilling and boring into her for water,” she said. “Extraction and pollution have angered the deities and made us very vulnerable. There is only one Earth. This earthquake is not only for Nepal.”
If we go on like this, she told Ellen, “drought, flood, storms, earthquakes will come to everyone.”
“Lots of praying and forgiveness rituals are required now,” Chanira said last week. “People have to stop being foolish and start concentrating on what matters most. We have to remember. We have to start praying like we mean it.”
Please consider reading this amazing article from which these quotes are excerpts. It shares a very important Newari spiritual view of what is happening in Nepal.
By Isabella Tree, National Geographic