Earthquake Day 2: ...I Spoke Too Soon...

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April 26th 2015
Published: June 7th 2016
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During lunch yesterday there was an earthquake as I was two bites into my food, talking to Pat, and trying to write in my journal... laughing, happy, confident, and carefree. I couldn't wait to reach camp to text Lori and Alex that my mood had done a complete 180 degree since the previous night when I had messaged them sick and ready to give up. That moment at lunch was 22 hours ago and now I am still in Dobhan 12 feet from that exact lunch place, keep woman, Marie from France, company until her helicopter gets here because she cannot move due to her right leg that that is cut from the knee to foot... or maybe knee to hip... open. She was travelling back to KTM alone and was trapped under a boulder and a tree for 5 hours until a man found her and tan to get 6 people to bring her back to our village.

For Pat and I we were eating lunch and heard a giant rumble and the ground started to shake. Thankfully our structure was stable because it took us a moment to react and run to the open are. I looked up to find tones of rocks sliding down the mountain in sight and figured it was a really bad rock fall (I kept calling it an avalanche) that vibrated through the surrounding areas. Thankur and the locals were filming so I took that as a sign that Pat and I could to. We were awkwardly laughing at the magnificent act of nature we had just witnessed saying things like our food was dusty now, maybe in a bit they can make us new food and we should probably wait an extra hour until rocks settle before we continue our hike. It wasn't until too long until we realized we had witnessed an earthquake and a house six feet from us collapsed. And it wasn't until too long after that, that rocks from all over kept falling and we were running up a hill to the flat corn fields 100m above. I was the slowest and dust kept accumulating so I couldn't see the road and had to climb up the dirt on my hands and knees which are all scrapped now... if that is my only "injuries" than I am the luckiest person in the world. The one building that fell, fell on a local. Had we been anywhere else in the village, had I still been sick and slow from the previous day, or had I not been sick at all and at full capacity, we could have been an hour behind or ahead of schedule, and I would be dead There is rocks on both roads to and from Dobhan and I happened to lucky enough to be at the safe zone in between.

Shit hit me hard in the cornfield when a village from above brought down a man with a cut in his side, a man with a severely severely bleeding foot, a woman in a basket who had something wrong with her legs, and a small baby a little older than my coworkers daughter with a gapping open wound in his back leg. Pat was talking to the man with the gash so I started disinfecting and stitching the kids wound. He kept crying and saying "I'm dying I'm dying". Not sure if he meant it in the English sense or if by some sick joke of the universe he was saying something completely different in his language that just sounded the same. Either way I couldn't hold it together but I managed to fix it up best I knew how, we gave him butterfly stitches and disinfected it, I hope it doesn't get infected. I gave him my clean pajamas to sleep with but was the one who took her sleeping bag back from a baby in hindsight I do not know why I couldn't sleep on the floor.

The man bleeding from the foot begged for some pain killers but that thins the blood, I think, and he was going to bleed out quicker but I gave it to him after all because there's no doctor for days so I don't think he will make it unless someone knows how to severe a foot. All I could do was tie a string at the vein to cut off blood flow and told him to lift his foot in the air so blood circulates back to the heart.... later on I found out that they brought him back up to the mountain to go see Buddha. Not sure what that implies but made me sad because I think I do know what it implies.

The worst was the girl in the basket, maybe my sage, it was hard to tell, but she had no wrinkles so she was definitely no older than 35. I noticed clothes covering her legs so I think they were severely cut because nobody bothered to ask for help, I guess they knew it was useless. All day/night she kept dying and living and her poor mother (or what I assume was her mom) kept grieving her death over and over again until it happened in the middle of the night and I woke up to a dead body covered in the cornfields, but by now they took her body back up to her village. I think that was the most traumatic thing to see, people desprately trying to keep her alive while watching her get paler and weaker.

There are two other tourists here from Germany, the only other non-locals, one kept giving me everything in his first aid kit but kept having an emotional breakdown so he couldn't help out that much. He kind of looks like my dad. The second German is fit with a nice lock of gray hair. He is stoic but I can tell he cared because he keeps asking me if there is something he can do for Marie... he is just trained to be a man about his emotions. He told me I did good but in my opinion I didn't because all I did was read instructions off a first aid kit... anyway he thought I did good so he fed me food from his tent. They have a team of like 6 porters, 3 kitchen boys, and 2 guides, it is weird because they will not eat until the Germans have eaten and left the area as if they were servants or something. They also gave Pat and I a tent to sleep in and shared one amongst themselves. None of the Nepalese people wanted to come in the white people tent that night so they all huddled together on the floor under a cover. talk about privilege check.

For the rest of the day I sat on a rock. Pat, Thankur, and a very nice Nepalese guy went further up the mountain to find a phone since it was too dangerous to go down to Dobhan. They found a girl with one bar on her phone but it died and Pat's message never sent anyway. Once I heard that I went up myself with Thankur and his special battery charger today so I can say that I tried to do everything I could to contact home.

Last night I didn't sleep well, i used my camera case as a hard pillow and only had my sleeping bag. I had nightmares of us getting crushed in the tent because it is tied next to the old house in the cornfield and we are on a cliff. Every time we felt an after shock we got ready to bolt out of the tent, so I put my passport, teeth retainer money, insurance, and other important/expensive things in my camera bag which was strapped on to me all night, that way if we had to run I could leave my hiking bag behind. This morning we ran down to the phone in Dobhan because it would have only been 9pm in Montreal when the Earthquake hit so maybe my dad didn't listen to the news yet. The phone did not work and I don't know how long I will be here so that is the biggest worry on my mind right now. At first I did not think an Earthquake in Nepal would make news in Canada, Pat thinks it definitely will in London but now I am hearing it was a 7.5 on the richter scale so maybe I was wrong.

All day today I have been helping Marie Claire clean herself up, pee, eat, and change clothes. She is a strong badass woman who never complains and tries to do everything herself, even if going to the washroom with dignity hurts her physically. She should be lying down but she keeps trying to sit up to pee in my water canteen that I gave her. I am silently sitting next to her trying to keep her company.

Back "upstairs" in the cornfield I gave kids my blue and purple pen and they wrote in the back of my journal, teaching me the alphabet and drawing me pictures, so cute 😊. We tried calling the office with the phone in Dobhan, to bring us a helicopter. He claims that our insurance said that they will cover the cost of the helicopter but I know for a fact that is a lie because my insurance number is international and no international calls are leaving the country right now, therefore he did not call and they did not clear it. The Germans want to pay for a helicopter and split it 4 ways or claim it all under his insurance. Then he wants to use each of our insurance to get their porters out. I do not trust this either.

It is night time and 2 Quebecois doctors, Valeria and Isabelle, came down from Jaghat. They will check Marie out and clean her wound! Thank goodness, because I was starting to feel helpless for her. They do not want the locals knowing they are doctors for some reason so they gave me some fresh bandage to go put on the little boy back upstairs in the cornfield. I am upset by this because I feel like they could help make sure that his wound is being disinfected properly.

I also did some photography to pass time which felt nice and therapeutic. Tonight we are sleeping in an empty hotel room down in Dobhan, of course now they know to charge us even more for food and phone usage, I hope money doesn't run out.


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