On the steps of the temple in Durbar Square we sat to rest our feet. The day was hot and our backpacks were digging into our shoulders. On the steps of the temple we watched locals pass by the centuries old structure with but an occasional glance, weaving through the awkward tourists and their selfie-sticks. We watched as an old wrinkled woman sat cross-legged on the ground across from us, eyes closed, face angled towards the sun. She looked at peace. We were at peace too. Three weeks later there would be no peace… on the steps of the temple.
AfterLong wooden crossbeams lay scattered across the tall brick heaps that now cover the steps on which we had sat three weeks before. Trailokya Mohan Narayan Temple was built in 1680. It had stood nearly 340 years. It was reduced to a heap of rubble in seconds as the earthquake shook Nepal’s very foundation on Saturday, April 25th. The Wall Street Journal ‘s Sean Maclin and Shirley Wang described the science behind the earthquake that has left thousands dead.
“A little before noon Saturday in Nepal, a chunk of rock about 9 miles below the earth’s surface shifted, unleashing a shock wave—described as being as powerful as the explosion of more than 20 thermonuclear weapons—that ripped through the Katmandu Valley.”
Ripped is the appropriate word. Streets and highways have been catastrophically shattered, houses have collapsed, and most importantly, families have had their loved ones torn from their lives. Its difficult to imagine. It is difficult to think of the smiling faces of those pleasant people we met just three weeks ago, now covered with the dust of destruction and the tears of loss. Indira and Ishan, our friends from Pokhara, are you safe? Is your family safe? Our hearts cry out to you.
Sanjeez, a Nepali man we met near Phewa Lake, at one point asked us to write down our names so he could “remember us in [his] life forever”. I pray he is ok. I hope and pray that God provides the necessary medical and emergency needs to the suffering Nepalese. I pray for the families of those who’ve lost brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons. Most of all, I pray that on the steps of the temple, amid the broken pieces of timber and debris, they find peace and comfort in such painful times.
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