Relief for Rasuwa Posted June 2, 2015 by Suchan Budha


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Early in the morning, while it was still dark out, monks and volunteers from Ka-NyingShedrub Ling monastery and Rangjung Yeshe Shenpen headed out for the long trip to the village of Chilime in the district of Rasuwa. The monks had just been there to scout out the area for people in need, and today was the day to return with supplies to offer to villagers in this devastated region.

The road was long and wound its way high up into the mountains, not an easy trip by any means: for the road was often unpaved—making for an extremely bumpy and unsettling ride—the air was thick with fog so that at times the driver would be unable to see much ahead of him, and there was always the risk of aftershocks and landslides. One of the jeeps even had problems with an overheated engine, requiring a few stops to fill the engine with coolant and water—though you would see no signs of dismay on the face of our monks, who were always laughing at their own troubles—and especially at each other—at one point gleefully deciding to toss water at each other that they carried from a nearby stream.


As we entered into Rasuwa, the damage was to the area was quite clear: the buildings we passed were almost all severely damaged, with relief trucks still piling into some districts with aid. Looking at the immense and almost foreboding mountainsides, trails of landslides seemed almost plentiful, highlighting the dangers that accompanied such an awesome landscape.

The jeeps had to stop short of their final destination since the road up had been recently cut-off by a landslide. There the monks all piled out with heavy loads, ready to make the long trip over the giant hills by foot. A couple of young girls had arrived to assist us carry supplies into their village, and the amount they could carry up such a steep climb was impressive, to say the least.11217588_718381658271881_3413242470390885212_o

After about an hour or so of intense hiking, we made it up to the next road with trucks waiting to bring us to our destination. First, we stopped in a small village called Goljung, where the destruction was particularly clear. Some supplies were dropped off, and one of our young monks met with his mother who kindly made sure that everyone there were given some tea.11145270_718381821605198_3845426021652579002_o

Getting back into out trucks, it only took about ten minutes or so from Goljung to arrive at Chilime which was filled with tents and tarp shelters. Seeing that their help had arrived, the villagers began to come out greeting their guests with smiles and a gracious lunch that was much needed.

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Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche had instructed his monks to make some special donations as well, and particularly poor and devastated families had been selected to receive substantial cash donations to help them recoup their losses in this time of need. All of them were clearly grateful, but they expressed it in different ways: with deep bows, gracious smiles, even with stunned speechlessness for the help they had just received seemingly out of nowhere.


Finally, we went just a few minutes down the road to find someone whose situation was particularly upsetting. One of our monks, Ahchung, had spoken about her before with a heavy-heart: how he had found this mute old women with her home completely destroyed, eating food that was covered in flies. Now, we found her with her sister who was clearly delighted to see help arrive. They both received food, clothes, cooking oil, tin sheets and tarps for shelter, as well as cash donations. The monks and volunteers were all deeply moved to see that they had been able to offer support to these elderly women in such a desperate time.11334156_718383118271735_1510132689512865502_o

Before leaving, the villagers surrounded all of their guests with khatags (traditional greeting scarves) as a sign of gratitude and respect; they offered everyone tea and drinks and wished everyone farewell. As we left, the peaks of the Himalayan mountains appeared out of the clouds from behind the massive hills, as if to also bid farewell to their guests who had brought some relief to this devastated land.