Recently, Mr. Sudeep Pagedar from Mumbai volunteered in Nepal as a research & documentation officer at Panchakanya V.D.C., Nuwakot. He’s done his Masters of Arts in Disaster management. After the quake hit on Nepal, he somehow managed to come to Nepal to contribute his disaster management skills through an organization “Doctors for You” which was supported by “PATA Nepal Chapter”. Here he shares his first ever international disaster response experience.
“Overcoming all the challenges to serve the community that was in need was the only factor that boosted me continuously to undertake this rare opportunity.”
A guy like me living in Mumbai coming to Nepal in this situation was a huge decision. Before coming to Nepal I knew Kathmandu and Mt. Everest which was the whole picture of Nepal for me. I had lived in a village before but not for 10 continuous days in a disaster condition. Everything was a challenge. Getting to an isolated village across devastated mountainous roads, being cut off with all technology that connected me to my home and the uncertainty of disaster that could hit back any time were nerve racking experiences. However, overcoming all the challenges to serve the community that was in need was the only factor that boosted me continuously to undertake this rare opportunity.
“The best thing about Nepalese is that they dare to cater extraordinary hospitality to visitors of any sorts despite the awful conditions they are in.”
During the time I worked at Panchakanya I got inter-connected with the place and people over there. We were outsiders still we never felt that. The best thing about Nepalese is that they dare to cater extraordinary hospitality to visitors of any sorts despite the awful conditions they are in.
“When needed you need to give up everything that’s been your life and do something. But one thing is for sure it will give you that satisfaction which you won’t be finding anywhere else, not even in the most luxurious clubs of Mumbai, Delhi or Kathmandu.”
The most important thing I’d like to say to any potential volunteer: “When needed you need to give up everything that’s been your life and do something. But one thing is for sure it will give you that satisfaction which you won’t be finding anywhere else, not even in the most luxurious clubs of Mumbai, Delhi or Kathmandu. That’s the kind of high you get! But you’re not doing it for the high, you’re doing it because it needs to be done and the high is just the side effect.” IT’S NOT EASY BUT IT’S WORTH IT! But before coming you need to have some genuine skills to offer and I believe everyone has something to offer.
“When you start volunteering you move beyond your organization and yourself and then you become a part of the community.”
This is a message to all the people “if you want to do something you can always find the ways to do it. Volunteering might not be paid. For a guy like me if I do the same thing elsewhere I’ll make some money. But this volunteering itself is a payment. I can use this experience in future which will be beneficial for me. While you are working you need to have the sense of ownership. When you start volunteering you move beyond your organization and yourself and then you become a part of the community.
“So if you want to do it- do it! If you can do it- do it! Just don’t think you can’t do it!”
At last, It’s not an easy decision to come to a disaster zone to volunteer, but at the end when you’re done with it and you go back, you realize that you small role you has made a big difference. Plus, whoever comes to Nepal right now, they’ve got a huge opportunity. They will be in the frontline of building an entire nation in every way. Nepal is an ideal place to work, especially in the development sectors where you will get to learn a lot of things. So if you want to do it- do it! If you can do it- do it! Just don’t think you can’t do it!
A random guy from Mumbai did it; I urge every professionals of Nepal and around the world, give it a try. Trust me the happiness you see in the faces of the survivors is the priceless payment that values more than anything else.
Amrita Singh Tamang- a nurse by profession who was the part of medical campaign in Panchakanya V.D.C. of Nuwakot organized by “Doctors For You” in collaboration with “PATA Nepal Chapter” shares her experience after her first volunteering session in Nuwakot.
“I felt little disheartened but it was more than okay because I was still on the noble mission of helping the quake survivors. I soon realized my actions mattered not the place.”
My teacher connected me with “Doctors for You”. Knowing the fact this humanitarian organization was planning to work in quake affected regions of Sindhuplanchowk, I was really looking forward to serve the victims of the quake of the district, which is also my home. However, the last minute change in plan asked us to go to Nuwakot. I felt little disheartened but it was more than okay because I was still on the noble mission to serve the quake survivors. I soon realized my actions mattered not the place.
Being a nurse to be a part of Medical Team that aimed to contribute the medical expertise in isolated disaster suffered region, I was very much grateful to Doctors for You and PATA Nepal Chapter. Since, we were in Nuwakot after all rescue operation; the only thing we aimed was to lessen the epidemic diseases that can occur after the disaster.
“I knew no one there, I had no idea where to sleep and the biggest challenge was I had no clue about the team I was working with and the people I was helping.”
For a girl like me, who always had the sophisticated lifestyle in Kathmandu, to be in quake struck isolated village of Nuwakot was a huge challenge. I knew no one there, I had no idea where to sleep and the biggest challenge was I had no clue about the team I was working with and the people I was helping. Eight hours of work every day, no weekend break and no electricity to charge my gadgets were the last things I would prefer experiencing throughout my career. However, the smiles on the faces of the quake victims our team was able to put after all the nightmares these survivors had gone through were boosting me to continue my job at Nuwakot. Pretty soon I realized, I was here to serve. I was not on a holiday. I was with the people who really needed me. I was not a duty I was assigned for; it was an opportunity I chose to serve the humanity.
Interacting with the local people around there was the one of the good things that happened to us. The people were very humble and generous. Through our regular general check up, we got know to about the different problems that people are facing after the earthquake. We provided them basic knowledge about personal hygiene, drinking habits and did some treatments. We even provided some psychosocial support to the people who were mentally traumatized because of the quake that swept their everything. Since most of the people were living in tents, so the disease they were more prone to were diarrhea and respiratory tract infection.
“I realized my small effort to comfort my people has given the biggest satisfaction, which is priceless.”
On the final note, I request everyone whatever expertise you have contribute your skills for a while to these needy people who are one of us. I realized my small effort to comfort my people has given the biggest satisfaction, which is priceless. I urge everyone who really wants to help Nepal and the quake victim Nepalese to be the part of the change that we have always been willing to have. I am happy as I have become the part of this change.
Amrita Singh Tamang