Monday, November 9, 2015

What's Happening Now

Well, a lot of time has passed since I last wrote because we were on vacation!
We were able to visit our families and enter the unreal world of long hot showers
and grocery stores filled with endless supplies of yummies!  Let me tell you, it was hard to make ourselves leave these two places!

Also, later, will be Part 2 of our April 26 Earthquake story.
Just no time now!

OK, so what is happening in Nepal six months after the earthquake?
Yes, it's been six months--man, six months!  In some ways, it doesn't seem like it was that long ago!
Maybe it's because there are till aftershocks now and then!  

Also, because you can still see people living in tents.
I took this picture the other day, soon after we arrived.

People, this is not the same as camping in Yosemite, which I thought was fun and super enjoyed!
(photo credit:

I don't think I can say that the people still living in tents are super enjoying it,
nor would they say it's fun!

Here is a photo post from ABC Australia by Care International's Brian Sokol 
that shows you current scenes in a village in Dhading District.  
Things look pretty much the same here.

Winter is coming and this means hardship under normal circumstances.  
Imagine now.
This article was in The Himalayan Times recently:

On top of everything else, there's a fuel crisis.  We are on strict orders to conserve all gas.
We use gas for cooking, heating, and hot water for showers.  We have to save the gas for quick (very quick) showers (which we actually did during the aftermath of the earthquake--who wants to be in the shower when there's a strong aftershock that makes you want to run outside) and to boil our drinking water.  Thankfully we have a microwave and toaster oven.  However, we have to be careful not to use too much electricity either, because if the hospital's generator's fuel supply runs out, and there is no fuel to buy, well, you get the idea!  Read about it here:

Most people have run out of gas and are cooking outside with wood.  Here is where our canteen's  wood fire is.   Yes, they ran out of cooking gas and are cooking outside right there.  They put up the tarp to keep the smoke away from our apartments.  

The other day, some cylinders of gas came to Banepa, and people waited in line for hours and I heard that many slept in the line to keep their place.  I'm not going to lie--it's hard.

Of course, food, medicine, blood, and other supplies are dwindling and prices are soaring.
This article in The Kathmandu Post tells about the medicine shortage:

People smile, but the look in their eyes is sad.  

Every industry is suffering, except perhaps those which sell electric appliances!

Here's a picture I took of some vehicles in a line at a closed gas station.  This line went on and on.  They sleep there and wait until whenever their turn will be, which could be days.

We passed lines like this almost all the way to Banepa from Kathmandu (17 mi.)
As soon as we'd get to a gas station/petrol pump there would be just a short hop, skip, and a jump before the next line would start and snake its way along to the next closed pumps.  Of course, sitting in the hospital's jeep, I couldn't get a better picture.

However, look at this:

This picture is from this Kathmandu Post article:
To see more photos, go to Google Images and type:  petrol lines in nepal

So, just keep the whole country in your prayers please!  THANKS!
Here are the precious darlings I get to spend time with who won't know you're praying for them,
but I will and that's enough!  I'm glad they don't understand what's happening
and are just enjoying their childhood.

OK, I'm going to go and see what I can make Ramon for dinner using the microwave and
toaster oven!

 Take care, God bless, and stay tuned for Part 2 of our April 26 story.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Our April 26 Earthquake Story

This post is "Remembering April 26, 2015--Part 1."

The best part of that day was actually waking up that morning!

If you missed what happened to us on April 25, you can read about that day in these three parts:  

At the end of Part 3, we were trying to fall asleep on a mattress outside of and in front of the operating room.  It was hard to sleep--our minds were churning and so was the ground under us!  

For those who are interested, here is a page from a website that lists all the aftershocks above 4 on the Richer scale:
You can see what we were dealing with and the frequency.
If you were still, you could feel the ground shaking with the tremors under 4, 
and they were in between the ones listed.  With those above 4 you could hear it and then 
definitely feel it.  It's freaky!

This still is happening.  Today I was taking a nap and felt slow shaking.
As far as I have heard, there have been over 23,000 aftershocks under 4, 
and about 380 above 4. 

OK, back to our story.
Here is an excerpt from the end of Part 3 of my thoughts as I tried to sleep:

I wondered to myself, 
"I wonder how long I'll be able to go without washing my hair," and
 "Does Mitchum deodorant REALLY work for 48 hours as they claim?"  :)  

Here are the answers:

You can go longer than you think you can without washing your hair!
No one worried at all about how they looked and we all looked the same!

Yes, Mitchum deodorant really DOES work for 48 hours as they claim!
(We had brought some back from the States last year, and still had some!)

Well, I think we both finally fell asleep from sheer exhaustion about 3:00 a.m. and we woke up around 5:00-ish, when the sun came up accompanied by more aftershocks!  
We thanked the Lord for waking up!

If you looked at the aftershock list above, you'll see there was a large one at 2:52 and then the next one was at 5:01, and thankfully we were able to sleep during those two hours.  The next aftershocks followed at 5:21, 5:26, and 5:32!  No, we couldn't sleep any longer even though we'd only had two hours of sleep! 

We went to our apartment, where, in the front yard, many church members had spent the night,

and brushed our teeth!  What a wonderful feeling!  Then we actually took about 15 second showers, a rinse actually, changed clothes, and ran back outside.  Still had our passports, etc., in my purse and toilet paper and our no-bake cookies from my friend Diann's recipe (Yes!) 
and water in our backpacks.   

Ramon went to check on patients with his team and I decided to go around and see what was happening.  People were getting up and checking on their friends and family members.  Doctors and nurses were checking on the injured.  Someone had a newspaper so I joined the crowd to see
what had happened.

Someone translated some of the stories to me in English.
We were all in shock and it still didn't seem like it could be real.

I tried calling my mom and sister now and then.  Sometimes I could get through for a minute
and other times I couldn't.  Again, the phones were working off and on.  At least I could keep them updated on how we were and ask them to tell me what they were hearing on the news!  I asked Mom to call my cousin's husband who speaks Spanish and ask him to call my mother-in-law and tell her we were OK.  We didn't want her to worry and have a heart attack!

I headed out to see what had happened and was happening.

You get the idea.

Four months later work is still going on to fix everything.  Can't even guess when it will be finished!

Earlier this month we found out that all the stress underground was not released!
This means that there are real risks of more earthquakes.

All we can do is pray!
Thanks to all of you who have prayed and continue to do so!

Well, the rest of the day was basically the same as the day before--staying outside most
of the time, talking to people, hugging and praying with (at their request) whatever lady was near me when an aftershock happened.  There were about 38 that day over 4 on the Richter Scale
and who knows how many under 4!

Once someone told me to go to the courtyard and take a picture of another outdoor c-section
in progress.  Ramon had lead the team outside for one the day before.  No one knew if the building would stay standing!  I asked,  "I really can go over there?"  "Yes, and take pictures!  Hurry!"

I ran over and took this picture, which has traveled around!
Ramon is in the green hat.

I didn't stay long, of course, and got some pictures of some of our patients, who all
gave me permission to take their pictures.

Here's a darling brother and sister, bless their hearts.

More darlings:

Everyone was happy to be alive, and at least for us, prayer kept us going.

Thank you Lord!

Bye for now and have a nice and blessed day!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Our April 25 Earthquake Story--Part 3


We hope everyone is having a lovely day and a lovely summer.
We're fine and "enjoying" the hot and humid monsoon season!  We're sad though about the mudslides and sinkholes that have caused more deaths.  Plus, the aftershocks are still coming (I've heard the current number, as of today, Aug. 15, is 378 of 4.0 or above).

In case you're wondering, many people still are in great need here.

Anyway, before I forget what happened, I need to finish telling about the rest of our day that fateful day of April 25, 2015.  The previous two posts are Part 1 and Part 2, if you missed them. 

So, as I told about in Part 2, I had finally connected with my husband, which was joyful because I didn't know where he was in Part 1 , but we couldn't talk for long because he was so busy, so I went back to where the people were sitting and continued talking, praying, hugging and holding hands during each aftershock with ladies who instantly became my sisters since we were in the same boat.  As I mentioned previously, people just grabbed the closest person to them.  The difficult thing about that time, and the feeling is still with us, at least with me, during the continued aftershocks, is the total uncertainty of what was/is going to happen.  We just didn't, and still don't know.  It's hard for someone like me who always likes to read the end of a book first!

Here are some of the people I was sitting with.

There were groups of people all over the place.
I was wearing the red ski hat that Ramon asked me to wear so he could see me in the crowd!

At one point I heard something and saw a large group of doctors and nurses surrounding someone who was on the ground.  It was sort of like this, only a lot more people.
This picture you may have seen before as I posted it on the hospital's news blog.  I didn't take a picture that time because I heard someone shout, "Where's Dr. Ramon?  Go find him!"  I just watched and prayed.  I saw him run over and he disappeared into the crowd.  I just continued praying.  Then the crowd slowly started to break up and the patient was carried away.  I ran up to Ramon and he told me that it was someone who had had a massive heart attack down in the town and had passed away before he arrived.  We prayed for his family.  I think we received eight or nine patients who were DOA that day.

So we continued--Ramon went to work and I went back to the people.

As the day went on, off and on, people were able to use their phones, even if briefly.  There would be a signal at least for a few minutes.  People asked me if I had called my mom.  "I'm waiting until I think she'll be awake.  I don't want to wake her up because I know she'll never go back to sleep."

Now, my mom and other family members were in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, where the Seventh-day Adventist high school, Mt. Vernon Academy was, for Alumni Weekend.  It was a significant weekend, because the school would be closing at the end of the school year--after opening in 1893!  It was our denomination's oldest boarding high school!  It was also my 40th reunion!  I was scheduled to give the mission story during Sabbath School live via Skype and had e-mailed my PowerPoint slide show to a former classmate, Dan, who would be running the program.  We had had a trial run on Friday night and it looked like everything was working well!  I had been looking forward to it!

I had a signal when it was about 6:30 a.m. Mom's time and I got through!  You can only imagine how happy she was to hear from me!  They were at a hotel, and my uncle in the next room had woken up early and turned on the news and discovered the earthquake.  He immediately called Mom and she had been anxiously waiting for a call from me.  She actually gave me an update on the situation at that time because she knew more than  I did since she and my aunt were watching the news.  I gave her instructions about how to meet with Dan.  She went early, found him, went over the slideshow with him, and from all accounts the mission story was a rousing success!  THANKS Dan and Mom! 

In case anyone is wondering, no, we hadn't eaten all day--not since breakfast.  How could we?  Even when I had run to the apartment to change, I didn't even think about eating.  At a time like that, food is the last thing on your mind and you have no hunger.  At one point, someone had invited me to go to her house because she had thrown together some food.  I thanked her, but just felt like there was no way I could eat yet

As the sun was going down, Ramon was able to come looking for me.  He found me easily since I had on the red ski hat.  "Let's make a run into the apartment and get coats (it was starting to get chilly) and toilet paper and decide where to sleep."  I was so happy to finally be near him.

As we walked, he told me that the young police cadet he had set up the outdoor ICU for had been successfully transferred to Kathmandu.  "Good news," I said, "but please tell me about the outdoor C-section."  "We had no choice!"  "But how did you do that?"  "The team was steady as always
and we just did it."

If you have seen the picture already of Ramon and the team doing an outdoor C-section, please note that it was taken the next day during another emergency during the 6.7 aftershock.  We have no pictures of the first one, but here is a picture of the brave mother, proud father, and the little sweetheart which I took the next day.

OK, so as the ground kept shaking now and then, we ran to our apartment, and there were several very strong shakes while we were there.  We grabbed our coats, passports, two bottles of water, and toilet paper and put them into backpacks as well as granola bars and apples, although I told Ramon I didn't think I could eat.  "You must eat something," he said.

Then he spied these:

OK, yes, those are chocolate no-bake cookies.  Yes, one of our favorites!  Yes, I was able to eat one that night since I love them!  Yes, I could only eat one, but at least it was something in my stomach.

Now, about two weeks before the quake, Ramon had said to me one day, "Hey, remember those no-bake cookies you used to make?  How about making those again???"  "Yeah!  I forgot about those!"  I looked online for the recipe, because if you don't get the exact measurements for the ingredients, they will not harden.  My recipes are in our attic and I've never unpacked them.  With the internet, I didn't feel the need.  Anyway, when I Googled the recipe, there were millions!!!  Which to choose?  I decided to Facebook message my childhood friend Diann for her recipe, which I knew to be perfect!  She sent it right away (THANKS Diann!  You saved us!!!) and I made them the day before the earthquake.  I took the picture to show Diann.  I never got around to sending it to her--after all, there was an earthquake and I was kind of busy!  So, finally, here's the picture Diann!  SMILE!

I quickly wrapped up those cookies into several groups with aluminum foil, threw them in a backpack, and we ate and shared them with others for several days actually!

 OK, so we headed outside and tried to decide where to sleep.  People were just laying down anywhere they thought looked like it might be safe.  I pointed to this slope near where I been sitting.  "How about just laying here?  The slope will be like a pillow."

Ramon said, "Well, I'd rather go near the operating room in case I have a surgery."  We headed to that side of the hospital, grabbing one of the few empty mattresses we saw on the way.
Here is where we went, which is very close to the O.R.

We joined the group already there, which was Ramon's assistant and his family and a couple of nurses.  I whispered to Ramon, "This is the first time in my life that I have gone to sleep without brushing my teeth or washing my face!  Even when I traveled around Europe on the trains I somehow managed to do both of those."  (When we had been at the apartment, we just grabbed what we needed and I felt lucky that I was able to quickly use to the bathroom!)  "Do you want to go back and do those things?"  "NO!"  "Well, let's try and go to sleep.  Tomorrow may be another long day."  "OK."  We prayed and then tried to go to sleep.  My mind wouldn't sleep.  All over the country I don't think many people slept, or at least didn't sleep well.  I kept praying the childhood prayer as I felt the ground shake under us, "If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take!"  In this instance, it was a real prayer.  I really didn't know if I was going to wake up.  Sometimes the ground was just moving back and forth, and other times it was a real shaking with the accompanying boom. 

By the way, it sounds like a car backfiring, either close or far away.  It feels like you're in a car going over a railroad track--or many tracks if it's a long shake. 

 I wondered to myself, 
"I wonder how long I'll be able to go without washing my hair," and
 "Does Mitchum deodorant REALLY work for 48 hours as they claim?"  :)  

OK, how long did we sleep?  What happened the next day?
Stay tuned for the next post: Our April 26 Earthquake Story.

Have a nice day.  Thanks for keeping us in your prayers!

Here is an update from last week on one of the hardest hit areas, for those who are interested:


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Our April 25 Earthquake Story--Part 2

OK, so here is Part 2 of "Our April 25 Earthquake Story!"  Yes, there will be a Part 3!

What's happening now, three months on?
This Himalayan Times news article explains many things:

Yes, it's still tough.

When I ended the previous post, I was in the aftermath and aftershocks of the "big one" and didn't know where my husband was, nor could I call him (no service) nor ask anyone (all too busy).  If you missed it,  click

If you've read or heard about it, there were aftershocks at approximately 15-20 minute intervals all day--and all night too.  They are actually still continuing!  (There was one this morning.)  Of course, they're not as strong now as they were then, but I'm still pretty jumpy every time I hear an expected sound!  The last current count I've heard was about 355 aftershocks above 4 on the Richter scale and over 20,000 under 4.  That 20,000 hasn't been updated for awhile, since I suppose that once you hit 20,000, you sort of lose track!  I felt one the other day as I lay in bed just relaxing and the mattress started softly shaking.  Ramon had already woken up and was in the other room, so it wasn't him turning over!  I would say the shaking lasted about 20 seconds or more.  I didn't move and just prayed in my mind, "Help us Lord!" and "Thank you for helping us!"  I usually don't feel those as I'm moving about during my days.  

Well, OK, back to our story!  At some point I decided to make a quick break for it and change out of my Sabbath dress and shoes--and go to the restroom!  I made a mad dash to our apartment where I changed in record time!  I just threw off my Sabbath things, let them fall where they may, and threw something on!  Yes, there were aftershocks while I was in the apartment. (I was shaky and chanting in my mind:  "Help us Lord!  Help us!")  However, what a surprise to find that we hardly had any casualties!  This is all that fell out of the kitchen cabinets:

Nothing else in the kitchen was broken!  All our plates, bowls, and glasses--safely in place!
The doors of the cabinets had all opened, yet the contents remained inside!
There the cabinets were--doors knocked open, yet everything in place!  Man!

A couple of things fell out of the hutch, which of course was full of glass cups, and not one of them fell--only a few unbreakable things!  Yes, the doors were open and all the cups were just sitting there as if there had not been an earthquake!  (I did take a second to put rubber bands on the door pulls, so they wouldn't swing open again.)  The Norman Rockwell had been on top of the hutch, so it fell quite a distance, but didn't break!  That "thing" at the bottom is a statue of a pregnant lady, which we have to remember all of the C-sections Ramon has been involved with.  She was up there with the Norman Rockwell pic.  Her head was broken, but she can be glued back together!

A few books and CDs fell off of one bookshelf (of course I can't find the picture right now),
but that is all!  The other bookshelves--nothing!  It's a really amazing how little damage we had!

Anyway, I noted these few things, but I didn't stop to pick anything up.  That's right--I just left the guacamole right there and ran back outside as quickly as possible--
after putting the rubber bands on the hutch and pushing the kitchen cabinet doors shut.

Soon after I came back down someone came up to me.
"Ramon is looking for you!"  YEAH!  "Where is he?"  "Over there!"
Do you see him?  He's in the blue hat on the left.

I was so happy that my knees started wobbling!
As I headed up there, the person called after me, "Ask him about the outdoor C-section!"
I stopped and looked back.  "WHAT?"  "He led the team outside for a C-section
and now he's doing an outdoor ICU.  He wants to see you.  Hurry up!"

I ran up and over to him.  Maybe you've seen this picture before.

He had set up an outdoor ICU.  The patient was a badly injured young police cadet.  Two of his classmates had come to the hospital DOA.  This young man survived, but it was touch and go for awhile.  His sisters we walking up to him at the same time I was and stood beside me.  They were crying.  One reached out to hold my hand.  Ramon said to them, "You can come and talk to him, but you must stop crying first.  Get a hold of yourselves, and come and talk to him.  It will transmit strength to him which he really needs."  They took some deep breaths and went over.

Ramon smiled at me and I was so happy and thankful he was OK.  He gave me a red ski cap which he had taken when he had had a chance to run up to the apartment.  "Put this on and don't take it off.  I need to be able to see you in the crowd."  I put it on and actually wore it until the next morning!  The weather was a little bit cool, so I was fine.  We said a quick prayer together and then he went back to work and I went down to be with the other people where I had been.

The pregnant girls had all been taken to this area, which is normally a parking lot for staff,
so they could all be together for quick check-ups.

I told our church's youth that I was proud of them for helping where they could.
Those with gloves on were helping to push stretchers and help carry/move mattresses.

They also helped set up tarps.

Some of the nurses and student nurses had a moment to sit down and calm themselves.
It was very important to remain calm.

All this time patients continued to come as did the aftershocks!  I have to say that I don't believe all the ambulance, car, and motorcycle drivers who risked their lives to bring the injured to every hospital and health clinic in the country are not getting the recognition they deserve.  Man, it was scary to just be there in that area behind the hospital.  I can't imagine what it must have been like to be on the road.  Besides that, countless people carried their friends and families, sometimes far distances, when there were no vehicles around.  There are many unsung heroes wandering around Nepal!  I want to say, "THANK YOU!" to all of them!!!

I didn't get very many pics of vehicles, but here are two.

Did you see the hospital's post about the little girl with the brave uncle who drove her here on his motorcycle during the very strong aftershocks?  If not, here it is:

Update on the family:  The father got a job working reconstruction construction in their village and the surrounding areas.  The mother and children are here living with friends and the kids are still at  our school.  We love them and are happy they can be with us for awhile!
Look how precious they are!  They are strong little survivors!

Here are just some of the motorcycles in front of the hospital that day.
All had carried injured patients and were driven by brave folks.
I know they would all just say, "We did what needed to be done.  That's all."

Did you see this hospital post about the men who carried their friend in their arms for 11 hours
down a mountainous path?  If not, here it is:

We will never know about all the heroes who stepped up to the plate during a difficult time.
To all of them I say, "THANK YOU!" as well!

We all felt like this man's face shows.

OK, to find out what happened as the the stressful day finally ended,
stay tuned for Part 3!  I'll just say that we were all thankful that this day was finally ending!

I hope everyone reading this is having a great day!

If you have supported Nepal in any way, even with prayers, I also say, "THANK YOU!" to you!

Bye for now!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Our April 25 Earthquake Story--Part 1


OK, OK, I'm behind schedule and I know it!  It's about time I tell our earthquake story--right?!

(photo credit:

We're so thankful that we can tell our story.  So many people cannot.

I've worked on this post off and on, but seemed unable to finish 
(maybe I didn't want to remember), but now I'll do it.

Anyway, just to let you know, we are OK and keeping busy.  Keeping busy during a difficult time makes it a little easier to cope.  Yes, it's difficult.  Yes, it's also getting easier, but still difficult because we see so many people still in need and we still are having aftershocks.  I start at every unexpected sound.  There have been well over 300 aftershocks above 4 and over 20,000 under 4!  On top of that, landslides have started and more deaths have occurred.  It's too sad and also surreal.  I still think I'm going to wake up and tell Ramon, "You would NOT believe the dream I had!"

Before we came, we were told that Nepal was due for an earthquake.  Well, when I lived in Memphis, we were always being told that an earthquake was due.  So far, nada!  (Memphis friends--keeping my fingers crossed for you!)  Anyway, we went to an Earthquake Preparedness class hosted by the American Embassy soon after we arrived.  Did we follow their advice and keep a backpack with clothes and food in the hallway closet?  No!  We did occasionally buy canned food with a pop lid, like they advised us to, but always eventually ate it!  That's how it is, isn't it?!

Anyway, we do feel blessed with how the world has responded with help and support.  It's still needed and still quite necessary.  Thank you!  After the monsoon rains, it's going to get cold, so right now the emphasis is on getting shelter for those still sleeping under tents 
(and tarps if they have no tent).

Now I'll tell you the blessings!  It's good to remember that there were (and still are!) blessings!  One interesting thing is that at the beginning of April, it was announced that there would be bandhs off and on for three weeks in April.  That's when the roads are closed.  If you missed it, some years ago, I blogged about bandhs here:   Anyway, because of this possibility and the chance that we might not be able to go shopping, I shopped like a crazy woman and filled up our pantry.  Many people did this.  Then, the bandhs were mostly called off, but many of us had lots of food!  This turned out to be important later when the roads and stores/shops were closed after the earthquake!  Although for those whose houses collapsed on their food supplies, it was a different story.  This is why we are thankful for those who donated and for those who carried supplies (and still are) to those folks.

Here are some of the young people in our church and their friends making food packages 
to carry out to the villagers without food.

Another thing that might sound silly is that right before the earthquake I went to the beauty shop for a much needed haircut.  I had been putting it off.  I'm so glad I went though, because it would be some time before I would be able to go!  Who knew that that would turn out to be a blessing?!

Another huge blessing which you've probably heard, was that the earthquake was on a Saturday, so children all over the country were with their parents and not in school!  On any other day, the children would have been in school and many people would have been in their offices.  Nepal has a six day work/school week with Saturday being the only day of the "weekend."  That this happened on Saturday was surely a blessing!

This is evident when you look at the pictures of the elementary school on our hospital's campus, which at first glance seemed undamaged.  However, upon second glance, we see that is not so.  Every classroom had ceiling tiles on the floor.  They are very heavy.  I could barely lift one up.  This is right where the Kindergarten students line up to go out of their room.  Imagine if they had been there!

Here is where the little ones sit to sing and take their naps.  Imagine!  Thank you Lord!

Here they are in that same location waving to me and saying, "Hi!" on the first day of this 
new school year (April 19, 2015) for the Nepali new year of 2072.

It's scary it is to think what would have happened (here and around the country) 
if this had happened on a school day.

So now to our experiences on "the day" we will always remember.  It started out like any other spring day.  It was a little cloudy, and had in fact been raining now and then, which was worrying some farmers as it was a little too early for the monsoon.  People were out in their fields working, 
which meant there were less people inside!

Ramon and I had had a lovely Sabbath School class with the little ones.  Here is a picture of the class taken two weeks post-earthquake and just a few days before the second one!

After Sabbath School, Ramon went to prepare himself for an upcoming C-section, and I went to the church foyer with some books for the little ones to look at during church.

Right in front of us was the door into the church and to the right was the door to the outside.

To the left of the above picture is the front of the church (our church is now in a different location and yes, they were preparing to move during this time, but hadn't moved yet obviously) and you will see there is another door in the front right, which was another blessing.

OK, so all the preliminaries were over and the people settled in to enjoy a sermon by a visitor.
Suddenly there was a loud noise and a shaking.
It was like a loud boom and creaking and it got louder and the shaking got worse.
Everyone looked at each other for that split second.  "OH NO!"
The noise and shaking intensified and there was no doubt as to what was happening.
I could see that door frame moving from side to side.  I thought the ceiling would fall on us!
Mothers grabbed their children and everyone rushed outside.
(I found out later that those farthest from the doors got under their chairs until the initial
rolling ended and then they rushed outside before the next rolling started.)
We looked at each other and grabbed each other while the earth trembled,
shook, rattled and rolled under our feet.  We were all in the same boat, so we hugged
whoever was closet to us whether we knew them or not.

In my mind I didn't have time to think, but it seemed so unreal, yet it was real.
If I thought anything at all it was just "OH NO!  This isn't real."

I had the same thoughts many years ago when I was hit by an 18-wheeler semi-truck
and he pushed my car for awhile until I rolled upside down through the oncoming traffic!
"OH NO!  This isn't real."  But that's another story!

The shaking stopped for a second and I ran back inside the building (yes, I did!),
picked up my books like a mad woman and ran back outside.

Ramon called me and said, "Where are you?" and I answered, "I'm walking with everyone to the back of the hosp..." and we were cut off!  I didn't have any idea what was happening with him for some time.  You can imagine how difficult that was.  All I could do was pray.  The phones didn't work for some time and were off and on for several days actually.

I continued walking with everyone to the back of the hospital where there is an area of flat land.

 (You may recognize some of the pictures that have been posted on the hospital's blog.)

Everyone was still holding hands with each other and hugging each other.
"Are you alright?"  "Are you alright?"  Many people were crying.

The ground kept "booming" and shaking.  There was a collective shout from everyone each time.
Injured people started arriving in a steady stream and triage commenced.

Lots of people ran into the hospital and helped bring out patients and mattresses.

Nepalese army soldiers arrived and immediately started helping where needed.

I tried to stay out of the way.  Sometimes I even had to jump to get out of the way.  Many ladies and girls, many crying, came up to me, hugged me, held my hands and asked me to pray with them.  They didn't know who I was but they knew I would pray with them.

I noticed a pregnant girl sitting by herself, hugging herself and crying.  I went over to her
and she grabbed me and pulled me to sit with her.  We hugged each other during each aftershock and
held hands in between.  She spoke a little English and I discovered that her husband was working
in the west of Nepal and her parents were in Kathmandu.  With the phones down, she didn't know
how any of them were.  She was trembling and I was glad to be of some comfort to her. 

After about an hour, those of us sitting where we were, were asked to go down to another
flat area and make room for more tarps and mattresses as the patients kept coming.

We headed down to this area:

I spent most of this time continuing to hug and pray with ladies and girls who asked me to.
They continued coming to me and I was happy to pray with them and just hug those
who needed a hug and a shoulder to cry on.  Yes, the aftershocks continued.  (Remember I said earlier that we are still having them!)  I'm not ashamed to tell you that I cried myself now and then.
The uncertainty of what might happen was emotionally draining.

We had some visitors on campus that I also visited with, prayed with, and held hands with!
There were two ladies from Australia who sponsor an orphanage near Kathmandu and were with us for a few hours.  Two student nurses from Finland were also with us, as well as three travelers, two girls from Argentina and one from Spain.  They had been on a bus from Nagarkot, that beautiful village with the amazing views, to Kathmandu when the earthquake hit just as they were in the middle of Banepa!  The bus stopped, obviously, and someone told them to come to our campus where they would be as safe as possible.  They stayed with us for a few days, until they were able to be evacuated.  My previous post mentions Nagarkot--if you missed it, click here.  If you missed my posts about Nagarkot, and want to read them (and see the amazing pics--you can't take a bad picture there!), click "Nagarkot" where it says, "Labels" on the right side of the blog.

 No one knew anything about what was  happening anywhere.  Some people listened to the news on car radios and told us the little bit they could find out.  Patients were telling what was happening in Banepa, although I didn't find out what they said until later.  I realized that I would have to wait until I could call my mom and sister, whenever that would be (!), and have them tell us what
was happening, since I knew they'd be watching it on the news!

Anyway, I still didn't know where my husband was.  I kept scanning the crowd for him.  Couldn't see him!  Couldn't ask a busy doctor or nurse and take them away from what they were doing!

I ran up to the canteen (quickly, as it was scary to run up stairs) and took this shot.
No Ramon.  Boo!

On the way back down, I saw this sad sight.
When I saw these bloody gloves hurriedly tossed aside, with no time to be thrown away properly,
the part of my brain which still wanted to think, "This isn't real!" knew that it was real
and I felt so sad.  "Lord help us," was all I could say.

When did I find Ramon?
Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out!!!

Again, thanks to all of you who are supporting the relief efforts here
and thanks for all of your prayers!
Have a nice day and a lovely and blessed weekend!