We Will Rise Again  

*expired film

He pointed to the left as we turned the corner in his compact Hyundai car.

"See.. Earthquake”, he said, removing his eyes from the busy, unpaved road.

I arrived in Nepal on May 27th, 2016, one year, one month and two days after a devastating 7.8 earthquake shook the small country. Upon my arrival to this country that would become very close to my heart, I quickly noticed how slowly the recovery process was really going. It wasn't going slowly because the people of Nepal weren't working hard to recover. They were and they still are. The process that would aid in the recovery of Nepal was moving slowly because of the lack of resources and an unstable, corrupt government.

The man driving the car was Suraj Dhakal, a kind, compassionate family man who opened his home to me while I was working on this story.  The building that Suraj pointed out to me on my first day in Nepal was once a small grocery store that also had a honey shop and a carpet shop on the second floor. I walked by that building everyday and it remained untouched, probably looking very similar to the way it looked the day after the earthquake's strong aftershocks.  One day, I walked by the building to see four men standing atop the cracked, crumbling pillars. They were beginning to take down what remained of the structure in a way that I had never seen before. This was the only way they could get the job done. They were balancing on the flimsy, rusted rebar, about 15 feet above the ground. The men perched atop the unstable structure and began to go to work.  One man would hold a thick metal stake in place while another carefully, but forcefully, tapped the stake into what remained of the pillar.  Once the stake was set in place, the three men took turns hammering it into the pillar with all of their strength, causing the concrete to slowly crumble away. In my eyes, this process represented the entire struggle of the recovery from the quake in Nepal.

Over four billion dollars was pledged to Nepal, earmarked for earthquake relief. However, the corruption and instability within Nepal’s government has left most of that money unused due to fighting over how and where the money should be spent. The Nepali people have been mostly left to fend for themselves during their recovery process. Suraj expressed his disappointment in Nepal’s government to me numerous times. The people of Nepal certainly have not had it easy during their recovery process, I was greatly impressed by the resilience and strength that the Nepali’s possess.

Recovering from a natural disaster isn’t an easy thing to do anywhere in the world. However, in a small, poor country with an unstable government, it poses a bit more of a challenge. Through all of the hardship that the Nepali’s have faced, they continue to demonstrate their strength and move forward, forging their way toward a full recovery.

© 2019 Zach Fratella. All Rights Reserved.