“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
Maya Angelou wrote that about her journey to Ghana, a journey to find the home in her heart.
The idea of home is one of those things that is malleable. When you move, home eventually becomes your new surroundings, even though where you grew up might still also feel like home. Home is as much a feeling of comfort as it is a physical place.
In Nepal, hearts and homes were broken last week by a powerful 7.8 earthquake and a series of strong aftershocks.
More than 130,033 houses were destroyed and 85,856 houses partially damaged, according to the UN.
Thousands who were in Kathmandu left for their home villages to find peace. In the rest of the country, they waited for help, sleeping outside in sometimes rainy conditions.
For some, home didn’t exist anymore, but they were still kind to strangers.
Home became refugee camps, set up with makeshift tents made out of colorful cloth and blankets.
The UN estimates there are at least 24,000 displaced persons living in 13 camps. That number shows just part of Kathmandu — there are 16 camps and at least 83 open-air makeshift camps in the city — not the whole of Nepal.
Sanjip Khadka had a home where he lived with his family, including his mother and father. They told Demotix photographer Julien Brebion that they can only access one room of their house. They left their house on April 25 leaving many possessions behind.
Now they share a tent with six other families in a refugee camp for Swayambhunath Stupa.
While Khadka left his crumbling home behind, others are trying to rebuild the home they have.
In Bhotechaur, Getty photographer David Ramos captured the Ghomenath Chaulagain family working to fix the damage to their home. The whole family is helping, even the children.
Far too many homes stand lonely in Nepal. There is no one to return there — the occupants died when the earth rumbled.
At last count more than 5,582 people died in the earthquake.
Outside the rubble that was once a home, their belongings stand alone in the sun.