Posted by: Talie Morrison | June 10, 2015

Tintale Village & Earthquake Relief

 

The second part of my India/Nepal trip was to go visit a small village in Eastern Nepal – Tintale Village, Udaypur, Nepal.   Years ago my son, Craig’s, partner in the music group Third Force started a sponsorship program called “aiSP”.   Through this program, we have purchased land to build a school in Tintale and provided small clean cook stoves for many families. (In this part of the world, everyone uses wood to cook their food.) It is an excellent program for a small village, which is “off the beaten track”!

So I flew back to Kathmandu and had one night staying in the Durbar Square area of Patan.   The next morning, Ishor and I walked across Durbar Square at 5 am (just 7 hours before the Earthquake which destroyed much of the area).   Our bus ride to Tintale was for 12 hours!   While we were stopped for lunch (at a small roadside restaurant), I thought Ishor was shaking the table (and he thought I was).   It took about 5 seconds to realize that it was an earthquake.   We were out the door instantly!   When we got outside, the bus was bouncing on its wheels, the trees were swaying and the power lines were going back and forth.   The ground was rolling so much, I had to bend my knees to stay standing!   So we knew that it was a “big” one.   After it was over, we went back inside for our Dal/Batt meal (rice and lentils) – and continued the bus ride to Katari (where we needed to spend the night before going on to Tintale).   When we got to Katari, we saw the news and then found out how bad the quake had been.   There wasn’t much damage in Katari and Tintale, but the people were very frightened.   Everyone was sleeping outside because they were afraid to sleep inside their homes.

It was another hour from Katari to get to Tintale (by 4 wheel drive!).   Our beautiful school building has some hairline cracks from the earthquake, so it will need some repair work.   All the schools all over Nepal were closed due to the danger, and those closures ended up extending for the whole time I was there.   But the school kids in Tintale, all came to school one day to do a welcoming ceremony (complete with music and dancing) just for me.

I had a lovely time in the village, and met not only my sponsored young man, Prakash, but also many of the families who live there.   It is a very rural area and agrarian – so all the fields were newly planted or getting ready to plant. It was great having Ishor with me to translate for the people who didn’t speak English. The area around Tintale Village is mostly Hindu.   So I got to go to a Hindu wedding (two villages over) and a Hindu (Hari Krishna) Festival – with lots of chanting and dancing.   It was 5 days of being immersed in their culture – I loved it!

It wasn’t till we got back to Katari that we saw more news and the devastation in Kathmandu.   I was a little nervous going back into the city – as I wasn’t sure how dangerous it would be or whether there would be water, food, etc. available.   But Ishor had talked to his family who were still in Kathmandu and assured me that we would be fine.   So we got back on the bus for our 12 hours into Kathmandu.   Our bus was pretty empty, but the buses going the other way (out of Kathmandu) were packed with people – sitting on the roofs too. As we neared Kathmandu, we started seeing the destruction that had been caused by the quake – it was pretty amazing.

Before we went back to Kathmandu, I put a request out to my Facebook friends – if they would pledge money, I would see that it got to the Nepali people who needed it most.   It was AWESOME the response I got.   By the end of my “project” I had collected pledges of almost $10,000!   THANK YOU EVERYONE WHO PLEDGED!

I had a couple of trekking trips planned with my Sherpa friend, Pemba; but I had a couple of days before I was to leave.   So Ishor and I went out to Sakhu, a village outside of Kathmandu, where there were people who had slipped through the cracks and were not getting any relief.   We talked with one of the locals who gave us a tour of the devastation (Yikes!) and helped us identify the people who were in the most need.   While we were touring the area, another Caucasian lady came up to me (not many of us out there).   She was from the BBC – and asked if she could interview me.   That was pretty interesting – and it was fun when friends of mine (in England and in Crested Butte) told me they turned on the radio to hear “This is Talie Morrison, from Crested Butte, Colorado.” The interview was about the fact that some of these small villages were not getting any help from the government or the big NGOs – so individuals, like me, were raising money to help them.

One of the interesting things that the locals told us with Sakhu, was that we needed to bring the food in “under cover of darkness” so that the people who didn’t need the food wouldn’t see it come into the village.   Ishor and I tried to find a truck to help us carry the food but none of the drivers were willing to drive there at night.   So our local contact said they could come to get the food – and sure enough they came into Kathmandu in a vehicle that they were able to procure: a bus!   Now, Kathmandu has many very small alleyways, which are filled with people walking, motorbikes, and some cars.   You should have seen our bus navigating the small streets!   It was amazing!

So we filled the bus with rice, dal (lentils), salt and oil, and sent it back to Sakhu (I kept referring to it as the “rice bus”!). The only items we were not able to get in Kathmandu were: Tarps or tents and water purification tablets – those were totally sold out in all of Kathmandu!

Then the next day, Ishor and I got a truck and driver to transport water, soap, and medicines to Sakhu.   We spent the rest of the day distributing everything to the people who needed it (our local contact turned people away that he knew already had food- and made sure it went to those in the most need!)   The people were so appreciative.  It was an amazing experience to be able to be “on the ground” and providing such needed aid.

Before I took off with Pemba to go trekking, I left money with Ishor to help the village of Dharmasthali with more food and water.   It is a blessing to have a local who knows the needs, the language, and the best way to provide aid to those who need it most.   I am so thankful to my friends who pledged money and enabled me to help these lovely people.  And I am so thankful for my Nepali friends who helped see that these monies were most effective.

 

 

 

 

 

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