Even though I was aware of the terrible earthquake that hit Kathmandu in May 2015, I was not thinking much about the risk during my stay in February 2016. Admittedly, I had the occasional eye-opener when I saw some of the most sacred places totally destroyed and also how many locals that was forced to live in tents, since their homes collapsed to the ground.
To see all these people sleeping outside in tents made me somber, and that the government did not help these individuals with even a single penny didn’t make things better.
Since I was aware that there had been a major earthquake in Kathmandu, I thought to myself; what are the chances that it happens to me? So I didn’t worry about it that much during my stay.
However, it happened to me. It was not a major earthquake, but still very scary.
I’m going to tell you more detailed about my experience in Kathmandu…
Me and Swedish Nomad (my boyfriend Alex) stayed with a local family in Kathmandu in February 2016. It was colder inside than it was outside during the day and at night you could barely get out of bed because it was too cold.
It was not only cold, but there were also power outages periodically since India blocked their access to gas and gasoline. This meant that we could sit in our bed with layers of thick blankets when it was completely pitch black, with only a spare lamp that worked an hour or so. How long it would be power outage we didn’t know – it could go on for an hour or eight hours.
It was about nine o’clock in the evening, our spare lamp didn’t work, it was pitch black in the room, and our toes were cold as ice cubes. We though it was no idea to be awake, so we went to sleep with layers of warm clothing and blankets.
Around ten o’clock I woke up terrified. I saw the whole room shake, and I woke up Alex in panic. A few seconds later it stopped shaking – I was half awake and confused. I asked Alex if it was a real earthquake, but he was just as confused as me and thought I had a strange dream.
I looked out the window, and everything looked like normal. No people panicking on the streets nor buildings that had crumbled – Maybe it was a bad dream after all?
Photo: Natalie Hawwa
The electricity started to work again, and we weren’t tired at all. Alex went up to ask the family if they could restart the Internet (it stopped working after every power outage). When he was up there and asked if they could restart the router the family didn’t mention anything about an earthquake – and Alex didn’t ask either, since he thought it was just a dream.
The rest of the evening and until it was time for breakfast, we thought I was a strange dream. But, at the breakfast table, the family asked us if we felt the earthquake. We were so shocked because they didn’t mention anything the night before when it just had occurred.
We talked with our homestay hosts about what happened, and apparently, earthquakes occur every month after the powerful earthquake in 2015. The quakes make the locals very scared since it destroyed a lot of shrines, hundreds of homes and took several lives.
Photo: Jessica Lea/DFID
Below you can see a video of how the Holy Durbar Square was falling to pieces, dust that colors the sky gray, and birds escaping the nightmare that occurred in Kathmandu 2015.
To experience an earthquake in a city that had to suffer that much was very scary. It is an indescribable feeling to feel how powerful Mother Nature is – which gave me a real eye-opener. I am so incredibly grateful to have grown up in a country where natural disasters don’t occur and where you always get a helping hand if your home would fall to the ground in pieces.
I am an incredibly lucky person who has lived a great and safe life – and for that, I am forever grateful! ♡