Saturday, May 9, 2015

Earthquake diary #4 Tuesday April 28 - Coming home

I woke up at the American camp, ate a banana and come biscuits I had brought to avoid the nasty oatmeal this time and took an AMAZING HOT SHOWER. I don’t even have one of those in my apartment here. It was a little chlorine-y but didn’t care. Preparing to leave camp meant charging my phone (electricity was hard to find for a few days), checking my messages and internet things, stocking up on a few extra of the terrible meal packages to take home (preparing for the impending food shortage), and grabbed 2 litres of water for home too (for the water shortage). 

At some point, the guys in charge said they had news for Canadians regarding an evacuation. The question on everyone’s minds for the last day or 2 had been “should we stay or should we go?” There was so much uncertainty and fear-mongering it was really difficult to tell if Nepal would descend into utter chaos (Haiti) or kind of return back to normal. So I went to listen to what they had to say. A military plane would be landing, bringing relief supplies, and the empty plane would be able to take any Canadians to Delhi for free. My first thought was ‘Delhi, ew”. I wrote down my details just so that I had been officially recorded by the government as being alive and in Kathmandu, but declared I wouldn’t be getting on the plane. My second thought was “My aunts are gonna be soooo angry if they hear there was an evacuation plane and I wasn’t on it” hahaha. 

Eventually I got all my stuff together and headed out for the last time. I collected my confiscated butter knife at the door (we actually don’t have enough of those in my house so they are very precious). I could always come back in the next week. There may even be people still camped out there! When I got home, I met my German roommate, and I think we had some lunch. Then the plan was to go out and SHOP, because we were still unsure about the impending food/water shortage and disease outbreaks and riots that had been promised. The shop near our house where we usually buy water from was out, and we took that as a bad omen. Instead, we walked a few blocks to a large department store called Bhat Bhateni, and luckily, it was open and functioning like normal. They even had water!! “Maybe things won’t be so bad”, we thought. We grabbed a taxi back, and didn’t even get overcharged by TOOOO much, another sign of things returning to normal.

The power was still out at our house, but we were able to cook using the gas stove. Our water was also not working as the tank had been damaged, so we were relying on the water we’d stockpiled in various buckets, bowls, bottles, cups, pots, and even in our clothes washing machine. I cooked up the sausages that had been in the freezer so they wouldn’t go bad. Our British roommate had decided she would stay at the British embassy one more night (some people slept out side for the WHOLE rest of the week). Our place was in fantastic shape, no cracks even. The whole neighbourhood was in great condition.

The ground would still shake occasionally, which was still terrifying, but the tremors were becoming much less frequent. I noticed that my landlord had an english newspaper and we asked to look at it, and we saw more photos of the damage. It said that thousands of people had left Kathmandu to return to their villages, which had been hit very hard. We had no internet access so this was our only source of information.

The last significant event of Tuesday was a radio interview I gave over the phone. My cousin’s sister-in-law works at a radio station, and she wanted to know what was happening in Nepal. So, around 10PM Nepal time, in my totally dark house, with my headlamp on, on a phone network that could cut out at anytime, I talked about my experience. I was very concerned about saying something untruthful or making damaging generalizations, because the truth was all the information I had could have been nothing but rumours (MUCH of it was). So I was pacing around my room and formulating my answers as coherently as possible. And when it was over, I slept in my bed for the first time in 4 days, and I think I only woke up once or twice from tremors, so it was a GOOD night!!

Stay tuned as we figure out how to help and things getting back to normal.

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