Getting ready for Kathmandu (@DXB)
This post is now couple of days late. I was planning on posting it the day before my departure, but I already left Seattle on May 3rd, and posting this from transit in Dubai International airport.
Anyway, when I plan for Nepal usually it is at least 2 months in advance, this literally has been last minute, but was able to find routes and tickets at reasonable price. Another stark difference this time also has been around the stuff I packed. Rather than personal items and gifts, I am carrying more emergency preparedness and sample relief materials (from Nepal Seattle Society). Anything, I could do to help the situation.
On Saturday (May 2nd), couple of folks from NSS dropped off, some medical supplies, sample water bags and water purifiers. This I will be delivering to NGOs in Nepal, if they find it useful, probably something we can ship in bulk. Many folks on the ground have been complaining about the shelter materials like tent, but it was not practical to take as passenger cargo. Additionally, for my family I am carrying 800W portable inverter generator, and sawyer water purifiers which took up bulk of space in one bag. My personal belongings is pretty much in a backpack.
On Sunday, the day of the departure, unfortunately I woke up feverish with swollen glands and slight cough. Nothing to be alarmed, as it was my immune reacting to vaccination doses of Hep A/B booster, and Malaria. Although it was a slight inconvenience, especially when I have to look forward to a 14:30 hours flight to Dubai. Another thing I goofed up was spraying my shoes with water repellent in the morning. Those things are marked flammable with strong smell. Only after, I sprayed it, I realized this could be problematic during the airport security check. Thankfully, nothing happened. While checking in, I also met two other Nepalese, who were going to Nepal to survey and report about their villages in Solukhumbu.
During the whole flight, I had a hard time catching sleep. It was uncomfortable, but my mind also kept thinking about what I would encounter. Sometimes being far away from disaster, you can empathize with the situation, but it is also easy to get caught up with your own life and not truly understand the scale. Being there would be completely different. Personally, no one in my immediate/extended family or friends were lost in the disaster, which we all are thankful for. My parents did have some major property damages, but were fortunate to have another home to go to. Some friends, neighbors and relatives lost their homes and are living with others they know or in temporary shelters. When I talked with them on phone I could hear the pain and overwhelm in their voice. I didn’t really know how to react; now I am meeting them in person, I have been thinking what I would do. All I could think of was — listen, give hope and enable ways to support.