In April 2015, a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook the country of Nepal, killing over 8,000 and injuring over 21,000. Hundreds of thousands lost their homes.
Our counselors John Schuetze and Anita Smith arrived in Nepal in February to provide trauma and grief counseling to men, women, and children affected by the earthquake and its aftermath. Their work there was sponsored by WELS World Missions, WELS Christian Aid and Relief, and WLCFS-Christian Family Solutions.
This multi-part blog from our counselor Anita Smith will feature a snapshot of their work there.
This is a long trip. No matter which way you go, it still takes time to get where you are going. My fellow counselor John Schuetze met me just as we were ready to board the flight from Chicago to Abu Dhabi. This is more than a 12-hour trip. John and I were able to get to know each other better and try to sleep a little. These long flights seem to be about your ability to endure sitting for long periods. In Abu Dhabi, we had about an hour and a half to find our next flight and walk around for a little while. It felt good to stretch and get some exercise. The last thing we really wanted to do was stand in line to get on the next 5- or 6-hour flight. We ate our share of Indian food on the planes, and by the last flight, when all they had was lamb curry left, it really isn’t what you want to eat.
Standing at the baggage claim in the airport in Nepal was quite an adventure. It took us more than an hour to wait for our bags, and the electricity went out twice. It made me think of scenes from a movie. We were packed in a room with people and luggage carts. All I could think of was, “Be careful of pickpockets.” We were sleep-deprived, tired, and in a foreign country. I wonder if that is how Joshua felt with the Israelites in the Promised Land? It took them much longer to get to that place. How tired they had to be. Everything was new and different.
We were so happy to make it to Nepal. We slept last night and had a pleasant morning; we tried some new foods for breakfast. The next part of the journey is the flight (yes, we get to fly one.more.time!) to our final destination. How joyful it will be to finish traveling and meet with our Nepali friends!