In the serene yet rugged landscape of Sirpachour, nestled within the heart of Barekot rural municipality, lived Mrs. Chhayadevi Bohara, a woman of resilience and quiet strength. The village, known for its breathtaking vistas and the simplicity of rural life, was home to Mrs. Bohara and her family of seven, a close-knit ensemble of three females and four males, weaving their lives together in the fabric of community and kinship.
Their lives, however, took an unexpected turn one fateful night when the earth beneath them trembled with a ferocity that shattered the stillness of Sirpachour. It was an earthquake that struck at midnight, a time when the world seemed to be at its most peaceful. The tremors were violent, awakening Mrs. Bohara and her family from their slumber, propelling them into a night of uncertainty and fear. With their house partially damaged and the safety of structures around them compromised, they, like their neighbors, sought refuge under the open sky, huddling together for warmth around firewood, their hearts beating to the rhythm of aftershocks.
Amidst this chaos, Mrs. Bohara was carrying the future—a life within her, seven months along and vulnerable. The ordeal of spending that night under the vast, indifferent sky was harrowing, especially for her, bearing not just the physical strain but the emotional weight of protecting the unborn.
The following day did not bring relief but a stark realization of their predicament. Their home, once a sanctuary, was now a structure teetering on the edge of collapse. With no tarpaulin to shield them from the elements, the family resorted to using plastic sheets to fashion a temporary shelter, an abode that quaked with every aftershock, mirroring the instability of their lives in the aftermath.
But despair was soon to be met with a glimmer of hope. Word reached Mrs. Bohara of support being mobilized by Helvetas Nepal with support from Swiss Solidarity, a beacon of assistance in times of dire need. The announcement that pregnant women and new mothers were to receive tents and winterization materials through the municipality ward office brought a sigh of relief to Mrs. Bohara. The community, her village, rallied around her, with local partner staff aiding in the installation of her new abode—a tent that promised more than just shelter; it promised a semblance of normalcy, of warmth, and of safety.
The tent, equipped with two pi-foam, a sleeping mattress, and a blanket, was a fortress against the cold, a haven amidst the devastation. Mrs. Bohara, with her family's support, prepared this space not just for survival but for the welcoming of new life.
On the 7th of January, 2024, within the confines of this tent, Mrs. Bohara's resilience bore fruit in the form of a boy, a beacon of new beginnings and hope. This joyous occasion was a testament to the strength of the human spirit, to the courage of a mother, and to the solidarity of a community coming together to support one of their own.
Dr. Prabin Manandhar, Country Director of Helvetas Nepal said, “Our humanitarian efforts save lives and alleviate sufferings of the earthquake affected families. It’s more than just a material aid, it brings compassion, dignity, and hope. We are also looking opportunities to foster livelihood recovery and reconstruction.”
When we met Mrs. Bohara on the 19th of January, she was the picture of gratitude and relief, sitting inside her tent, cradling her newborn. She recounted her journey from that terrifying night of the earthquake to the present moment with a sense of serenity. The tent and the materials provided had transformed her reality, solving the problem of leaking water and protecting her family from the dew and the cold. She expressed her heartfelt thanks for the support that had been extended to her, emphasizing how the tent had become a sanctuary for her, her baby, and her husband. The rest of her family, too, found solace in a temporary shelter constructed with the help of the government.
Mrs. Bohara's story, set against the backdrop of Sirpachour's resilience, is a profound narrative of community, hope, and the enduring human spirit. It's a story that transcends the immediate challenges of natural disasters, highlighting the impact of collective action and the difference that compassion and support can make in the lives of individuals facing adversity. In the warmth of her tent, with her newborn by her side, Mrs. Bohara looks towards the future with optimism, a future made brighter by the kindness of strangers and the unyielding strength of a mother's love.
With the help of : Narendra KC from Jajarkot.