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Das Übergangsheim für ehemalige Kinderarbeiter (Transitional Home) unserer Partnerorganisation ACCESS ist durch das zweite große Beben leider im Moment unbewohnbar geworden. Gokul und Prakriti haben die zehn Kinder vorübergehend bei sich zu Hause aufgenommen. Gokul hat uns jetzt einen sehr persönlichen Erfahrungsbericht vom Miteinander der letzten Wochen geschickt. Darin beschreibt er seine Beweggründe, die Kinder zu sich zu nehmen, den Spaß, den sie zusammen haben, wie seine Mutter sich um die Kinder kümmert und wie schwer es ist, ein neues und dauerhaftes Heim für die Kinder zu finden. Hier Gokuls Bericht (in englisch):
„25th of April is not just a day, but a history in itself. This is a day that saw a series of terror of a massive earthquake of 7.8 magnitude that killed nearly 9000 people and destroyed a half of million houses leaving million of people in dismay, uncertainty and never healing scar throughout the life .
I also witnessed the horror of the devastating earthquake and experienced it with a great dilemma and psychological stress. At that very time of earthquake, I was at home. The home, all of a sudden, shaked violently as if it would collapse on us in no time and crushed us to death. Luckily I along with my family managed to rush to the outside to the open safe place. Still the ground was shaking and roaring with a strange but very frightening sound of the quake. The environment was full of chaos and terrifying as people were rushing frantically out of their homes and screaming in fear.
The children in the transit home came into my mind. I tried several time to contact them. But sadly the mobile network was not working. My family is safe and right in front of me. But fate of the children was unknown, though they live just a 20 minute drive from my home. I was not in position to move to the transit home as the after shocks one after another was hitting. The unknown status of the children was killing me with desperation and extreme anxiety. After a while as the terror of the aftershocks became feeble, I drove to the transit home with my better half on a bike.
In the location area where I live and transit home is situated, the majority of the houses are new and made of a new technology that they were safe and withstanding the earthquake. Seeing the house standing unhurt on the way was installing courage and positive thought on me regarding the fate of the children. When I saw them in a nearby ground safe and sound, I heaved a sigh of relief finally. Our hostel warden was so good in her work that she managed to get all children out of the house without anyone hurt.
The quake has damaged the walls of the transit home with multiple cracks in every room. Upon inspection by an engineer, he tagged the house safe to live, but definitely precaution was strongly advised as in case same magnitude quake hit, then such already damaged house would fall prey to the quake. We set up a makeshift tent shelter in the open ground. Children along with other community people stayed outside in the open ground for next 10 days. Everyday and night I had to visit the children couple of times in a bid to fulfill my duty and console my mind and heart as when I was with the children, my thought was filled with the concern for my family who were outside of my sight and vice versa. The concern for my family and children kept my mind and body busy and occupied that I turned into literally physically weak and mentally tired. The situation was tense beyond words. The safety of the 10 children in such crisis was adding more responsibility on my shoulder. Child trafficking and abuse was also reportedly increasing taking advantage of the crisis by human traffickers. Since our children were living outside in the tent open in the ground that could lead to the possible abuse and trafficking. So everyday protection skills were oriented and reoriented to the children, which many times I had felt they were bored of listening same protection skill from me and hostel warden. But we could not stop the orientation. After ten days tent life, our children got back to the damaged house, which was declared safe by engineer to live in. But the mental impact for the children to see crack in the wall of their home would definitely be doing no good. But we did not have other alternative. For their confidence to boost up, an engineer was also asked to brief to the children about the non danger damage inflicted to the house in addition to our repeated counseling and informal talk.
From the 4th day of the disaster, we had started organizing and travelling to some of the worst hit villages, where we were the first to deliver the relief materials, consisting of first aid, plastic tents, clothes, dry foods and sanitary items including water purification tablets. We reached hundreds of households with our relief materials. We had a great company of Kerstin Prothmann during our all village trip. Kerstin is a true inspiration for us for our untiring efforts. It was truly unbelievable to see her vigorous engagement in the relief mission at such crisis-ridden area.
As, with time, slowly we were returning back to a normal and everyone including the geologist were spreading the positive message that the earthquake is over and time is absolutely safe to return to home, 12 May brought another series of terror with another massive earthquake of 7.3 magnitude rising death toll and destruction.
Again the children in the transit home were pushed to the open ground. The building got new cracks and we set up a temporary shelter out of the tent. We did not know how long we had to stay outside. With this new massive earthquake, uncertainty was rose to next level beyond imagination. And it had already tired me up. My dilemma again resurfaced in a big way.
Finally I decided to bring children at my home and I could have my family and children together right in front of my home. This could give peace. Yes, truly it was an immense relief for me to have both my family and children together all the time under my surveillance.
Luckily our house sustained no significant damage labeling it a safe house. Children my family and another family shared the basement of our house. They have also an open space right in front of my house, where they could run for safety in case the quake hit. My mother has been a great entertaining companion for them. Together they do many things from washing, cleaning, farming, singing, dancing, playing to gossiping till late night. My mother shared the room with them.
It’s really a great fun to stay overnight with kids listening to their chat, their talk, discussion and argument and suddenly coming to us for confirmation of their discussion to finalize the winner. They smile all the time. Our day starts with their smile. The youngest boy greets everyone of us every time we meet as ‚ good morning ‚ even in the night. Everything is refreshing even in the scorching heat of summer as children bring funny and strange issues and activity.
And the day is even more crowded with the kids of child care center coming in. Sometimes we are altogether 30 people in the basement.
For last 3 days the night is bit under control and little cold too because of the rain. But the day is still hot. Now the rainy season has started. Hope it will give us some relief from the heat.
Mosquito is a problem but we use net and a chemical to protect ourselves and the kids from it.
Basement shelter brings kids closer to us. Everyday they want either ice-cream or mango or chocolate. So no day is left without their demand and they have a trick, one day one kid wants to have ice cream and the very next day the other kid wants to have chocolate. So everyday someone new is ordering new things. Kids are really smart.
Even small aftershock makes them so alert and all of then run away towards the open ground in front of the house. It is even more funny, because none of our neighbors is coming out but our kids do it with strange sound making the environment scary. Our kids are causing trouble to some of our neighbors by their stupid action.
I gave them a military like training. They have dry food, water and some basic medicine standby in a bag. So whenever the aftershocks hit, they run away with the bag. Sometimes the problem is the bag as many children want to run with the bag. Children struggle to be a lucky one to get the bag and fight erupts among them to claim the bag instead of running out. Now only the hostel warden is permitted to carry that so special bag.
Fifty thousands houses have been damaged just in Kathmandu valley. Even in a normal time, finding home for a child related project itself is a huge challenge. Now in such crisis ridden time, the challenge has become even larger. In the transit home the load bearing structure is intact without any damage. The walls are damaged and now being demolished and new walls will be erected. This is all being done as per the technical advice of an engineer. So it is completely safe to stay in the transit home once repair completes. It is not optimal and we need to find a new sustainable solution to host the kids. But for the time being we don’t have another alternative than getting back to the repaired house. When we will be able to reach our target fund raise, we will buy land for the transit home and construct an earthquake resistant house.
Now our transit home is undergoing the repairment. It will take some more weeks to get the transit home ready. Till then these amazing children will stay with us and keep on amusing us with their unpredictable nature and action.