Place: Kathmandu, Nepal
Interview by Lena Dorfschmidt
I arrived to Nepal just two days before [the earthquake] and I want to go to a trek one day after.
I was in some restaurant in the Tamal, it’s the center of the tourist in Kathmandu. And I felt a little bit that the ground shake and that things go from side to side. And I didn’t think about it’s going to be earthquake. […] It more was regular to me to think maybe I am little bit… don’t feel well. It was more natural to me to think I am not well. I didn’t think about the option that it will be an earthquake. But then all the peoples stand and run away for an open place and we hear all the time that things are broken and it just was like more and more movement. […] Then I understand of course when everybody run away and screaming.
It was very [scary], because I felt that the building will fall, so we run away to open place. But after all five minutes there is aftershocks all the times. And all the peoples go to the street, the tourist and Nepalis, locals, too. Then we wait long time.
And what is so interesting, you know, the ground is the basic place for us. It’s the thing that makes us feel comfortable. Home, ground, it’s the most comfortable place. When its not so comfortable and the ground shakes you really don’t know what to do.
So after all these hours we understand that we need to go to the government of Israel. Someone told us that all the tourists have to go to their governments.
The embassies you mean?
Yes, the embassies.
And when you go just in the streets you can see a lot of building, broken and a lot of people go shocked; […] People that their home just get lost and a lot of things on the ground. […] It was, you know, one day you see the place like this and the next day it looks different.
So we go to the embassy and we stay there in tents for a few days. And all Kathmandu, all the peoples go out, just sleep outside, because if there is another earthquake, so they are afraid that the building fall.
I think the most tough think was that everybody was in panics […]. After the ground relaxed, peoples still all the time was very confused and to speak with your parents and all your friends, to explain you are okay. After it we heard that it will happen again. It was funny, because after it, when it was again, we were not very afraid, like the first time. It was like, “Okay, it can continue, we know how it feels.” We just run to open place. And after two days it was more difficult, because all the restaurants closed and there was also [a lack of] bottles of water.
In the media we read that there was no electricity and water was short…?
Yes, the embassy was [taking care of] us, but I think for local people it was too hard. You know, just to buy water and food, and you feel that the places closed… […] Tamal, it is very tourist place, very popular place, everybody knows Tamal. It was very strange to see everything closed and without nothing.
I was also a little bit afraid, because our friend was in trekking. My very good friend was in trek in Lathang and we hear that he is okay, but not from him. And a lot of people asked me if I know about him, but I didn’t know nothing. You know, just for answers about where is he, is he okay. And I went to China, but after two days he came to Kathmandu, so I missed him.
You stayed in Kathmandu for another week after the earthquake. How was that time?
In the embassy, it a little bit feel like festival. You know, a lot of Israeli in the tents… […] It was a little bit feel like, everybody go, guitar… but […] you didn’t go shower for five days and you feel more and more not comfortable with the situation. I think it was interesting experience to see the country in this situation. We go, there is a place called Bait Chabad. It is a place where the Jewish man live there and he host Jewish people.
Like a Chabad House?
Yes, Chabad House. They host us. Very nice, all these five days, we was there and if we want, we can sleep there. It was very nice.
Did you notice anything about what was going on in Kathmandu itself, how local people were?
Yes, we go. I really like just travel around. It looked like a lot of people were just in tents. And in Bait Chabat we make food and give to some local people. I did it for three times, I know they did it more. So we think more how to help. Come from Israel like hospital help, to help people, not just Israelis. My friend, she is like a nurse, so she go to kind of hospital.
[…] I think it will take a lot of time for Nepal to get over about it, you know, financial and psychological. I think it will take a lot of time.
We heard that the airport was closed…?
Yes, but it was just for a few days. And I know a lot of embassies did a special flight for countries. For Israel was two, for France to China. But after just five days, I think , the airport was open.
After I booked, I little bit feel like I run away and maybe I was need to stay, you know, to help, and to see. It’s interesting to see a society in this situation. So after I booked I thought, maybe I need to stay.
But it was good to go, now, it was very hard. When I was there, I didn’t feel it was so hard. And when I get out I understand more the situation. Before two days I dreamed that here in China there was earthquake. It was funny, because I dreamed that the earthquake take me for like 360 degrees. I do like a circle by myself. It does not make sense.
I think that now I understand more the influence about all this situation.
That sounds like a very intense situation.
I think the most intense thing, like I said before, that the ground, the most comfortable thing in the world, change. Not water, not food – the ground not okay, its hard to understand it. All the symbolize this thing.