6 year old, Susma, in Yangri Village
Meet Susma, a 6 year old girl from Yangri village in Sindupalchowk District.
Yangri is a small village, which 35 families call home, in Sindupalchowk District. It rests beautifully at the bottom of a steep hill, next to the gushing white waters of Yangri Khola.
When the M7.8 earthquake stuck Nepal, Susma was in her house with her brother Bijay. Her house was built out of rocks and wood, and held together with mud.
The house didn’t stand a chance against the strong vibrations of the April 25th M7.8 earthquake.
Like almost every other house in the village, Susma’s house collapsed.
Everything went dark. Susma was under the rubble — the weight of hundreds of pounds of rock and wood on top of her.
Three long hours later, the villagers heard her screams and dug her out of the rubble. She was safe, alive, and only slightly injured.
Unfortunately, her brother, 10 year old, Bijay, didn’t survive the house collapse.
Susma received a couple stitches under her right ear.
Physically, Susma is fine and has recovered fully.
But I could feel her nervousness. It was part heartbreak, part trauma, and part loneliness.
She never let go of the stuffed toy she was holding. She held on to it tightly.
I didn’t know how I could help or make it any better. There wasn’t anything I could do. Was there?
I felt helpless and empty. I tried to do something or say something to make the kids smile, but the gravity of their village never left the air. The kids can smile for a while, but their eyes give it away. The situation here is dire.
I was with the JRM Foundation and we gave this village more than 800 kilograms of food. That food last the for quite a while. But, as I was leaving for the helicopter, I opened my bag and gave Susma a small roll of Oreos and a packet of Wai Wai noodles. That’s all I had with me.
Their village literally looks like a war zone. But, the war analogy applies to their minds too. They’re suffering from post-earthquake trauma. Their minds are like that of soldiers who have seen years of combat, and are now struggling to deal with civilian life, trying to move forward, as if the war/earthquake never happened.
But it happened.
These kids (and many people) in Nepal need counseling, and they need it yesterday.
I tried to help. Maybe I did?
But I don’t know.
How can we deal with trauma? Do you know anything about it? Is there a video, resource, pdf, website that talks about how to tackle it? Send me a message please.
The story of the Nepal earthquake is not a story about the rubble. It’s a story of perseverance, hope and people helping one another. You can help JRM Foundation bring relief to more remote village by donating $4 instead of buying a latte today.
You can contact me directly in the comments below, or on Twitter at @amrit_sharma.