“After 30 years of traveling to Nepal my take away from this trip in March of 2015 was how happy I was to see hope again and a movement forward after Nepal’s devastating civil war. With our Nepali friends we explored, laughed and planned for the bright future of Nepal… What a difference just one month and a 7.8 magnitude earthquake can make.”
DHADING DISTRICT: Baseri
In March of 2015, CCF’s President Denise Attwood, Secretary Austin Zimmerman, and Board Member Martha Newell visited Nepal to, among other things, visit the village of Baseri and gauge the local impact of the then five year old clinic. The response was more than they could have wished for:
“We met with the village committee in Baseri that runs the clinic and together we planned for the next 5 years, hiring a new health assistant and exploring the ideas of creating a maternal health center. We explored, laughed and planned for the bright future of Nepal and our artisan friends there.” -Denise Attwood
Just over one month after their return, the clinic was almost entirely leveled by the devastating earthquake on the 25th of April, along with much of the surrounding village and the newly cultivated optimism.
The Process of Rebuilding
Where does one start to rebuild an entire village? From the beginning; square one. For the village of Baseri, the clinic was this square one. The clinic represented more than a building, it was their clinic, a manifestation of their social identity and personal autonomy. As such, the reconstruction of the clinic was one of the primary goals of the villagers, and within days of the earthquake they had begun the excavation of the former foundations, digging out what medical supplies were still usable, and constructing a temporary dispensary from tin roofing and beams. Being one of the only primary health care facilities in the entire region, the Baseri clinic and its staff were a small ray of hope and solace for the many surrounding villages; dozens of individuals and families traveled from miles away to receive medical care in the days and weeks immediately following the earthquake.
- On December 3rd, CCF representatives distributed large, warm blankets to the village of Baseri. Each of the 162 homes in Baseri were given one two-ply Lotus blanket large enough to comfortably cover several family members in preparation for the freezing Himalayan winters.
- By April 30th, CCF had purchased 100 durable canvas tents for the people Baseri in Delhi, India, transported them on top of a local bus and begun their distributing . These tends will provide long term shelter to an estimated 400 individuals for the coming year. Cost: $4000
- Also by April 30th, CCF had 100 28kg bags of rice to Baseri, along with the corresponding amounts of lentils, sugar, salt and cooking oil.
Earthquake Relief in Rural Nepal
Plans for the Future
Now that the immediate needs of those in Baseri have been met, CCF and the village council have turned their heads towards the future and prospects of rebuilding. Canvas tents and emergency rations can only last so long; soon the terraces and farms must be rebuilt, homes remade, life must go back to normal. This process may be the most difficult yet, and will certainly continue for many years
This chance to rebuild from the ground up has to potential to be a blessing in disguise, not only for Baseri, but the entire country of Nepal and all those effected by the earthquake. With the massive influx of people into the Kathmandu valley in the past fifteen years (current estimations say the population of the the valley is around 2.5 million), the infrastructure was not able to keep pace, resulting in hundreds of thousands of individuals living in abject poverty, with little access to the most basic resources such as shelter and water.
The History of the Clinic
Denise and Ric met Sita Gurung in 1984 while they were trekking through her remote village of Baseri, Nepal. She was 14 at the time! Sita was an enthusiastic girl in the village and immediately they became fast friends. Over time they dreamed together of someday building a clinic in her village where there had never been any healthcare before. Hear the full story here: Learn More