It was all going so well. We were getting everyone food, temporary shelter, cash if needed and everyone was starting to plan the future. The tremors had finally stopped and the nervousness that had hung in the air for nearly two weeks was subsiding. Then, it came again. Like a hungry monster back to finish it’s meal the second quake stunned all of us. There was very little property damage here in the villages as there wasn’t much left standing from the first quake to knock down. What was knocked down this time were peoples spirits. A pall hangs over the village and no one can quite summon the energy to get up and begin again, yet again.
At Her Farm we are doing our best to help others cope with the trauma of a huge second quake. For the children we’ve held grography classes and talked about what causes earthquakes. For older youth I’ve given them some very basic lessons in using a video camera and sent them out to interview others in the village, to get them to express what’s inside them. We started reconstruction on the toilet facilities at the school as well in the hope that it may now open the end of May, or that’s the new schedule.
It all feels inadequate, it’s going to take more time this time around. The first quake was a horrible shock, the weeks of ongoing tremors kept that reality alive in everyone’s mind, but then for a while, a very short while, it was calm.
We have now visited every home in the village and interviewed each family to ascertain their needs. Thus far we've provided food and emergency shelter to 370 families and have our 3rd truckload of food arriving today.
There are 200 homes to rebuild here. Our estimate is that on average people need $500 in building materials after factoring in what can be reused from the damaged homes. Sand, cement, wood, roofing material, some electrical parts and steel rebar are the most needed items.
People are anxious to start rebuilding now. They have family based work groups organized so that all labor will go to repair first one family member home, then the next and the next.
The village is looking to us for help with materials. Few had any savings to draw from and there's no such thing as homeowner insurance here. So many have come to us asking if we would make them a loan to rebuild. I have little faith that people can ever repay such loans but I am so impressed that they aren't flat asking for handouts and would ask for a loan in the first place. I'm touched, moved and inspired by the gentle people of this village.
Please help us to help them rebuild their homes and lives.