It seems like only a few days ago that I hit submit on my application to study abroad as a part of my Global Health certificate in Kathmandu. When I found out I was accepted, I was ecstatic. The thought of traveling to the other side of the world and seeing a culture so different from my own in the beautiful Himalayas. . . well, it could not have been better. I began researching Kathmandu and began to imagine myself walking through Durbar Square, Thamel, Swayambhunath. No more than a month later, I found myself staring at these same locations, which had been destroyed, on the news.
It was only a little less than a 100 days ago that the 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal killing 9,000 people and injuring more than 23,000. This tragedy was covered intensively by the media and updates were continuously given. However, after about two weeks, the story faded into the background covered by more recent news. It faded similarly in the minds of many friends of mine as any tragedy does. Yet, Nepal remained in the front of my thoughts, along with many of my classmates. Selfish at first, I was devastated I would no longer be traveling to Nepal, but I soon realized that my presence would not help matters in Nepal. So I decided to help from home in Madison, Wisconsin by applying for an internship with Sarvodaya USA.
Continuing to work towards raising funds for Nepal, the earthquake has remained prevalent in my mind. Yet, I began to think about the numerous tragedies that have occurred over the recent past that I have brushed aside: The Earthquake in Haiti, The Indian Ocean Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, The Cyclone in Vanuatu, among many others. Along with the Nepali Earthquake, all of these tragedies received initial aid that quickly faded over a few weeks leaving many residents helpless. I had never given the topic much thought, but I began to realize what a great problem it is.
One of the most important lessons I have learned through my Global Health courses here at UW Madison is that education is often the key and in the case of Nepal, we must all help educate our communities that Nepal is still very much in need of aid. In a previous Meet the Interns post, my fellow intern Maddie shared her experience at a candlelight vigil in Madison soon after the quake. It showed the presence and the strength of the Nepali community right in Madison. My personal goal this summer is to help keep this flame lit by working with Sarvodaya and reminding the student body of UW Madison of Nepal. I challenge you to remind yourself of a disaster that changed the lives of many, remind others of their continued need, and help rekindle their flame.