Driving through Nepal on arrival, felt like entering a ghost town. Quiet washed over the city, grey sky’s, and dust upon everything. A consistency and regularity to everything, everywhere had been put into order and then left. The shops front neats and tidy, no litter. Every few metres piles of bricks and mounts of dirt. Unlike India with chaos and litter everywhere, there was order amongst the rumble of the half crumbling houses. As we got closer to the city centre things got busier. People wondered the streets with masks on their faces, hiding from the dust. School kids, mums with baby’s bundled in scarves strapped to their backs. Colour started to leak through the grey, the reds of temples shrines and gold pray bells, the yellow and oranges of the the fruit filling the bowl in the front of a bicycle, rusted silver pots filled with powdered spices. Elements of Indian and Tibetian influence peaked through the square, uniformed streets. The deeper you walked into the old town, the more the layers revealed. Deep cracks through the road, turning a corner to the whole road in upheaval, climbing over mounts of mud, jumping over a ditch to get to the other side of the road, as people rebuild after the devastation that was the earthquake.
2 years on and the damage caused is still very much prevalent. On the outskirts you still see camps where people who lost their homes still live, people who lost their business. In the city every few houses are ripped open, exposed interiors that once stood whole. The amazing part is how they have rebuilt, the strength of the people. You will find old ladies with a woven basket strapped to their head, loading up bricks as they climb through the mud to empty the heavy load into a nearby truck. At home this would be the work of young labours, 17year old boys not 50-60 year old women, but they are there working hard to make the city. With so many people affected by the earthquake our hostel owner tells us that the most advertised products on television are now cerment, followed by steel rods and then biscuits!