When, in an already dire-to-hardscrabble Nepal, Mother Nature’s convulsions violently broke forth in a furiously unyielding 7.8 or 7.9 magnitude earthquake, yet again, many nations large and small, notably including the tiny State of Israel, cracked their wallets and immediately sent their best and brightest medical staffs, mobile army surgical hospitals (‘MASH’) units, relief teams, etc.
Indeed, precisely as was the case in the January 2010 Haitian earthquake, Magen David Adom, Israel’s ambulance, blood-services, and disaster-relief organization, was the first team in the world to arrive in Nepal.
One of the hardest-hit Nepalese towns was an historic jewel, Bhaktapur.
Located about 20km (12 miles) east of Kathmandu in the Kathmandu Valley, this 12th Century icon is known as the ‘City of Devotees‘, the ‘City of Culture‘, the ‘Living Heritage‘, and ‘Nepal’s Cultural Gem‘. It is one of the three royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley.
As ever, the question arises, why is it such disasters always seem to really zero=in on, harshly target the most vulnerable of the public, either the elderly or the very young?
According to CNN: “A 4-month-old baby was rescued from a destroyed building in the town of Bhaktapur at least 22 hours after the quake struck, the newspaper Kathmandu Today reported.
“A Nepali military team had failed to notice the child during its search but returned after his cry was heard, the newspaper said.
“The little boy, whose name is Sonit Awal, was reported to be in stable condition without any internal injuries, according to initial examinations.
“CNN hasn’t independently confirmed Sonit’s rescue, but the newspaper published photos showing the dust-caked infant being lifted by Nepali soldiers in the ruined structure.”
For all too many, however, the quake crushed all hopes and all too many lives.
Per the 2001 census, 80.62% of Nepalese are Hindu, 10.74% Buddhist, 4.2% Muslim, 3.6% Kirant (an indigenous religion), 0.45% Christian, and 0.4% percent were classified as other groups such as the Bön religion.
But getting anything accomplished in even the best of days in Nepal is arduous, to say the least.
Start with communicating with the survivors of this disaster. Pick a language which suits, but which, or as I’d be willing to bet, many of you have not even heard mentioned, ever, much less heard spoken.
The litany of languages profile breaks down this way: Nepali (official) 44.6%, Maithali 11.7%, Bhojpuri 6%, Tharu 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.2%, Magar 3%, Bajjika 3%, Urdu 2.6%, Avadhi 1.9%, Limbu 1.3%, Gurung 1.2%, other 10.4%, unspecified 0.2%
But also note: 123 languages were reported as enjoying ‘mother tongue’ status in the 2011 national census. Fortunately, both for the locals and all the aid workers, many in government and business also speak English.
Another problem is that the very well-trained are scarce, or as is to be expected in a land where the median age is…..22.9 years, and where the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per head is a meager US$2,400 (€2,110, £1,528), per year, which ranks Nepal at 197th in the world.
All that said, and even with these hyper-long odds on the very best of days, for every tyke like the wee Sonit Awal, who astonishingly and thankfully was rescued, it is or should be the purest desires of common humanity, especially of parents and grandparents everywhere, those of all faiths or none can embrace the broadest message of “A Child’s Prayer”, with lyrics which are both so beautifully serene and also restorative.
If this fails to play, my apologies, Please copy this link into your browser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bse5TtEuaGk
“Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev’ry child’s prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.
Heavenly Father, I remember now
Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
“Suffer the children to come to me.”
Father, in prayer I’m coming now to thee.
Pray, he is there;
Speak, he is list’ning.
You are his child;
His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer;
He loves the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav’n.”
Thankfully, unlike the followers of some faiths one might recall, all the Buddhists I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet or know are amongst the most gentle, open, ecumenical souls on the planet.
May this be a tribute to or indeed some comfort to all the tragically shocked parents, grandparents and little children of Nepal, some seriously injured or indeed missing – perhaps, indeed forever under tonnes of Heaven-only-knows what.
What a world.
Some, amongst many, worthy charities now with an emergency, ongoing active role in Nepal:
The Salvation Army has set up a designated fund where 100 percent of gifts go to relief efforts in Nepal. To give, visit http://salar.my/Nepal or in the USA call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769). Elsewhere around the globe, Salvation Army posts are ready to accept donations.
Check donations to Salvation Army World Service Office (designate “Nepal Earthquake”) can be sent to:
Salvation Army World Service Office
International Relief Fund
P.O. Box 418558
Boston, MA 02241-8558
In-kind donations are not being accepted.
American Jewish World Service
45 West 36th Street, 11th floor
New York, NY 10018-7904
Heart to Heart International
13250 W. 98th St.
Lenexa, Kansas 66215, USA
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
“A Child’s Prayer”, Words and music: Janice Kapp Perry, b. 1938. (c) 1984 by Janice Kapp Perry.