Kathmandu, Nepal, March 9 2016
Almost a year ago, on April 25, a massive earthquake hit Nepal. For a more in-depth account of our experience there, see my recent blog: Nepal with relief (http://kebeandfast.com/blog/?p=1233).
In Kathmandu we stayed in an apartment in an interesting area of town called Kishibu. It was with very mixed emotions that we returned there. On one hand much more remained intact than we had feared. On the other much was gone: I got lost directing the taxi to our place when we arrived, only to spot the apartment through a gap in the buildings that didn’t used to be there. It was the same when we walked around the neighbourhood: people went about their daily lives as if nothing had happened, but on nearly every corner there were signs of the disaster. One of our regular routes took us along the banks of the Bishnumati River, and by the old Indrani temple, which I loved for the small erotic carvings tucked up in the eaves. The temple was quite seriously damaged, and these buildings in the compound, which were administration and pilgrims’ accommodation, had almost entirely collapsed. Still, people came to preform rituals and leave offerings, holy men lounged about, and kids played in clear spaces.
I spotted these kids playing cricket through a ruined archway, and when they saw me they gave me a big wave: I took this picture a second to late, missing the gesture, after I waved back. All the same, it captured for me the tragedy that had happened, in the destruction all around, and the incredible resilience of the Nepali people for carrying on through it all. There is also the symbolism of looking through a tunnel, of a dark and difficult journey that has yet to be completed.