Resilience in Children- Gorkha

Before going to Gumda, I never really did rugged traveling nor did I ever took any such project which challenged me in every way possible. I was a software developer in a reputed company back then and for years I sat comfortably in my chair coding and testing. But that year, I experienced what traveling was really about. This trip was one of my spontaneous decisions. It was the first frost after the devastating earthquake and there were people living in cold and snow near the epicenter of the quake in Gorkha. Along with a volunteer group “Believers,” we decided to do a winter clothing drive that winter. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Early morning around 6:30, I embarked on this journey from Kathmandu.

I have always loved taking photographs, especially the facial structure of different people when they face camera has always fascinated me. I was going to the remote places of Gorkha so I knew I would have the opportunity to capture lots of portraits. However, things changed there. When we reached Baluwa, it was freezing cold and raining. So, we quickly got ourselves a quick shot of Rum and started to distract ourselves from a heavy downpour by talking about photography and politics. In the morning we could see marshmallow like snow layered all over the hills. We were excited to see the snow for the first time but our excited changed to sadness when we reached Barpak and Laprak.

In both the places, all we could see is the blue tarps covered heavily in snow. It looked like the aftermath of a camping trip gone wrong. But It was heartbreaking to see that these were the actual villages of Barpak and Laprak and there were families, old and young living under those blue tarps. I needed a minute to accept everything I was seeing and mentally prep myself before I took out my camera that day. I usually love to photograph children as they show such pure unaltered emotions. The children in Gorkha had scars, both physical and mental. I could clearly see it in my photograph. They had lost their homes, lost their family members, living off tarps and temporary shelters with limited resources in a matter of months.

The children have seen so much more than anyone of us ever had but somehow they looked at peace; playing and running around the snow. Their cheeks were red from the chilling cold breeze, their clothes were torn and they were playing in front of their rubbled homes; this was the scene of Barpak, Laprak, and Gumda. The little children had somehow innocently accepted their reality. The sheer courage and resilience of the children inspired me deeply. 

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