Breakfast at Biruwa with Dr. Ganesh Gurung
May 26, 2015
Team Biruwa @ Bibeksheel Nepali
June 2, 2015
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We all experienced the Mega-Earthquake on April 25th, 2015. Each of us Nepalese had an experience of our lives. Amongst this, Our Biruwa team also have their earthquake experiences shared below:

One thing that has amazed me after the earthquake is the way Nepali citizens have been proactive in the rescue and relief operations. In fact, during the first few days after the quake, it was independent citizen groups and small organizations providing relief to those affected by the earthquake. My aunt passed away in the first quake when a house collapsed on the car she was travelling in. When her body was recovered and taken to Teaching Hospital in Maharajgunj, I was surprised to see my friends from Bibeksheel Nepali managing the flow of people and patients at the hospital. Bibeksheel’s volunteers were in the Hospital within 20 minutes after the earthquake. As the hospital administrators who were there on that Saturday were leaving to find their loved ones, Bibeksheel became the first responders and almost ran the hospital’s front end for the first 24 hours.

In some ways, the citizens of the country were more prepared than the government to handle this disaster. Why is that you may ask? It is because we have always had a weak government. Citizens have always had to fend for themselves as the government in Nepal has failed to provide even the basic amenities like water, power and healthcare facilities. When the earthquake happened at 11:56 am on April 25th, the people of Nepal knew fairly well that the government will not be able to handle the response to this disaster. That is why so many have mobilized in helping the earthquake victims.”
-Vidhan Rana

I can still remember my maternal grandmother’s voice and her eyes whenever we queried about the 1934 earthquake. She recalled the horror with such distress that it was hard for me to comprehend, at least before the horrific April 25th, 2015. As one twitter reads, “we should mention as an earthquake survivor in our curriculum vitae,” these are experiences that have power to change the face of Nepalese face. Now can we effectively communicate (more importantly, prepare) our future generations to lessen the earthquake’s impact being placed in an active seismic zone? This is a question that has haunted me since a month.

As I witnessed individuals and groups responding to needy areas voluntarily, it has evoked our cultural identity of “helping” that seemed to fade away in the last few decades. As our history is marked with dark history of 10-year-long conflict, I believe we have not utilized the situation well to bounce back “well” from the series of events that claimed 17,000 lives. The “peaceful” transition (as politicians and analysts like to call Nepalese conflict to peace) compared to other nations, the kudos go our society’s deep sense of harmony and conflict-reducing-culture that were ingrained from generations.

Now it is time to learn from our history and channelize the ingrained vibe to bounce back in such a way that Nepal stands as an example.
-Sanam Chitrakar

It was another lazy Saturday, and I was watching shows on my laptop, waiting for my clock to switch from AM to PM when it hit. I heard my father call my name and I jumped out of bed and into the living room. The walls were shaking. The floor was shaking. Glass shattered in my parents’ room and the television shook furiously as I stood under an arch, holding on to a wall with one hand and interlocking the other with my father. It felt like forever, but I knew it had to end sometime. When it did end, we made our way down four floors onto the street; the whole neighbourhood had gathered. We were all waiting for the aftershock and the only thought that came to my mind was “It took an earthquake to get me out of bed today”.
-Shamir Upadhyay

The massive earthquake that hit Nepal on 25th April, 2015 has left people in chaos. I was at my cousin’s house when the deadly disaster took place. I along with my cousins stayed in the door tightly holding each other by screaming and remembering god’s name. As soon as the big earthquake stopped, we ran towards the open ground to protect ourselves from the accident. This was the incident where not only me but all the affected people felt near to death situation.

All Nepalese have joined their hands together to help their people and the country. They have taught the lessons of humanity, cooperation and love to the people of the world. Though the country has suffered a huge loss, the bravery and spirit of Nepalese will definitely help restore smile in people’s face and bring back the beauty of our country.
-Shilu Pradhan

As in my experience all I remember is my mom shouting “Aayo! Aayo! Aayooooog”, which is nothing new to me as my name is Ayog (a weird name, it is). So I thought it wasn’t anything special but my mom’s normal nagging of me being a lazy bone on Saturday afternoons. I dropped down in my bed and just when I was going to close my eyes everything just sort of amplified. Already having experienced many other smaller earthquakes (You can call an earthquake small-but the terror is never big enough) my senses tingled like a superhero straight of Marvel’s comic book. I sprinted as fast I could and with my mom and Brother and got out to an open space outside. This shaking continued for hours and for days everything was in chaos. Nothing was normal. I literally felt as a refugee in my own country.
Apart from this, I was constantly thinking, what next? What do we do now? Where do we go and how will we survive in the future? It’s an earthquake which cannot be predicted and it’s something that definitely can’t be controlled. And then I set out to do something rather than sit there helplessly like an earthquake victim. We (Biruwa) now took the initiation of coordinating and managing the earthquake and relief (www.biruwa.net/earthquake). I was amazed that so much people turned up and we also set up a communication centre where we also had KLL (Kathmandu Living Labs) working on the open mapping system (www.quakemap.org).
I think this earthquake has now changed our way of thinking and even living. I only wish that we not neglect this experience in the coming future but also learn from it and move on forward.

-Ayog Basnyat

Earthquake in Nepal was long awaited. Experts knew huge amount of energy had been stored underneath the soil of Nepal just waiting to shake the soil surface and just to shake the mentality of people. Geologists had been warning people about the devastation that would cause if the energy is released. They knew it would jeopardize people’s life & shelter and some other physical infrastructure.

It was April 25, 2015 Saturday when the ground started shaking. I was just waiting for my friend’s call to go out and get some good air of Kathmandu. At 11:56 AM the ground started shaking violently. In the wee hours of earthquake I was still thinking that my friend would call me and we would go roam around somewhere. I took my position under the door with my parents. After about 3 minutes the first shake almost halted. I went to my rooftop to check my surrounding. I saw in the road, people were all scared. Some people were even crying. But me, I was just running around the rooftop just to check if the ground stopped shaking or not. Half an hour passed and still we did not show any sign of getting to go to safe and open space. We were all on the third floor of the building.

We then realized that it was not a small quake. It was violent and the earth had been shaking in the time interval of 5 minutes. I went to my room packed some warm clothes, told my parents to do the same and then we began to move to a safe place.

-Pratyush Kuinkel

Shake, shake, shake it; god must be saying it from above cause only that explains 42 seconds long lasting earthquake from the view of my grandmother. This devastating earthquake destroyed thousands of life and made many people homeless and disabled. Loss of lives and property is what people compensated for whirling the green nature into concrete beauty.

Nevertheless every cloud has a silver lining; this earthquake I would say was a wakeup call for all Nepalese. People who had become machines and were left with very less humanity after this incident must have realized that in the end its people we need, we can only survive on hope and support from one another, at least I apprehend so.
That moment of immediate crisis with no electricity, less food and water and above those aftershocks after aftershocks was only testing our patience level but that simultaneously gave us enough time for bonding with our neighbours, sharing and caring which is called love. The ego of people with big houses, expensive cars and sophisticated lifestyle all burnt down to ashes when they had to share a single tent with five different families which they don’t even consider as people and right there and then discrimination took its last breath. Whereas I with all those mixed emotions in my heart still managed to be at peace.
-Needika Adhikari