As we had decided to help with supplies and relief materials on the outskirts, we started with our first project at Panauti. We made a list of things that would be required for 600 people. After hunting for the supplies at a couple of departmental where the stock of chuira and wai wai had ended, we finally managed the amount we needed. With a lot of coordination with the other members, we put together sacks of chuira, cartons of juices and wai wai, energy bars, medicines and clothes. It was late on arranging everything and we postponed the plan for the next day. We wanted to reach immediately as the situation explained to us was really bad. We had problems arranging three things; one was water, the next was tents and transportation.
We took water purifiers with us but the hardest was to get a jeep or pickup van to reach. There were not many people in the city as many had gone back home. The drivers were hard to find and so was the vehicle. After some calls we finally managed the van. The first project taught us many things:
- The first and most important is to know a local person of the village personally so they can direct on which places the relief is needed and the exact scenario can be understood and known.
- An assessment of a place that one is heading to is must before taking the supplies.
- There are a lot of people trying to make the most of the vulnerable situation, by giving out wrong information of the affected people, place and stocking up the provisions. There could be chances of people fighting for goods when it reaches the destination. There are times when the villagers gather around the supplies and want people to leave everything for them even if it is not required and the mass cannot be controlled.
- The groups need to be ready for leaving the collected supplies at the offices of VDC, so they could distribute it well. It is not necessary to be distributing in hand to the affected on these situations because they have been going through the worst times.
- The groups should be writing in their experiences on different sites which have been designed for earthquake reporting and the places they have visited so there is no multiple reliefs been taken for the same place. It surely is difficult but at the same time this data would be very useful for non duplication of efforts.
- Even if one cannot go to the ground, one can send materials with the people they believe are doing ground level work as the main idea is for the supplies to be reached quickly. This made us realize how each citizen is helping each other and we are strongly united.
- The last thing that we noted was there were a lot of people collecting funds from across the world, and the donators wanted each penny to be used for the relief or given to the affected people. It makes sense when they want a detailed sheet on where the funds have been used, but at the same time they need to understand that there a lot of channels. Once the funds are received, the supplies are purchased, the materials are taken to the required place, and when it is left to the VDC office, there is no guarantee when and how it is given. So, one can collect funds and give it to the people that they trust and this is the most that groups who have collected funds can do transparently. Having said that, we should be doing our bit on how we can help and not judging what is right or wrong.