We are in Sindhupal Chowk, the most affected area as far as causalities and maybe even in damages. The district has seen 1,800 or more causalities. When we commit such figures to paper they seem to lose their life – one more figure in an endless stream of figures.
I stood in front of a heap of rubble – stones, mud, wooden slats and beams, and rattling tin sheets. I went closer to see if anyone was around, but was greeted by an absence. This was not stone and wood – this was a home. It maybe had a mother a father and many children. It would have been filled with the sounds of life, the laughter of children, with the smells from the kitchen. And it would have been rent by the screams as it all caved in. This definitely was not a heap of rubble.
A question came to my mind – Where does that door lead to? Is it inside or outside? It leads to a future maybe, which we can help shape with our compassion. Maybe it is a door to our humanity.
We travelled for hours along treacherous mountain tracks… which certainly was not meant for a bus to traverse, but our courageous guide and bus driver were up to the task. We reached some settlements – rows of rubble houses along what was their main road. In many parts we had to clear stones and beams so that our bus could trundle across. All along the way we helped with distributing rice, blankets, bed sheets, etc.
The children were like children all over… curious and open. In the midst of this tragedy they play, laugh, cry…
May we be able to learn from them.