Each month, Extra takes a look at the story of an international student at the University of New England. This month, Sabita Baniya from Nepal talks about her experiences in 2015.
It was a normal Saturday for everyone. Some were busy in gatherings and meetings, some in household activities, while some were sunbaking.
After lunch, I was watching TV with my sister and her six-month-old baby girl. My nephew was studying in his room.
Suddenly, there was a shake. I couldn’t think what was it - then there was a shake again and again, I couldn’t sit still without support. I was holding onto the table, my sister was crying holding her baby tightly on her chest with one hand and holding an armrest of the couch with the other. My nephew was standing holding the door of his room.
I could not believe it. I could not believe what was going on - it was a nightmare. I felt like I was watching a horrifying movie.
The TV fell off the TV cabinet and I could hear other things falling in other rooms too. It was an earthquake.
After a few shakes, there was a pause and we were able to evacuate the building. While we ran down the stairs from the three-storey building, we were feeling the shaking. While the earthquake was going on we stayed in the compound of the building for few more minutes praying that the building would not collapse.
When the earthquake stopped, we heard the voices of people outside the compound and we went to join them.
There was a crowd of people with fear on their faces on the side of road outside the house. It was a nightmare for all. There was no phone network for some time, which made everyone panic even more.
Everyone felt it was a devastating earthquake and were worried about other family members who were not there. After some time, the phone network came back on. We were able to communicate with each other.
Fortunately, there was not any human loss in my family. But all the houses in my village collapsed and family members rescued my grandfather froma collapsed house. He had injuries on his thigh and arm.
I heard about the collapse of the seven-storey Dharara, a historical building built by Bhimsen Thapa, the first prime mimister of Nepal. I could not believe it. I could not believe what was going on - it was a nightmare. I felt like I was watching a horrifying movie. Everyone was praying for the safety of themselves and their family members.
We came to know about the collapse of different college buildings and temples in Kathmandu valley, which made everyone mourn.
The next day, I headed off to my village with my uncle on motorbike to meet my mom and injuried grandfather. There was a smaller earthquake going on. There was no bridge or connected road to drive to the village so we had to walk about an hour to reach it.
We left the bike in a village opposite our village, and walked from there. We walked through jungle and bare hill. While we were walking we were afraid because if the earthquake hit again we could be hit by rocks or trees.
We walked very fast to save ourselves but suddenly there was another large earthquake when we were walking on bare hill and we could see the rocks rolling down the hill. We held each other and prayed for our safety. Fortunately, we didn’t face any trouble there.
When I reached my village, everyone was very happy to see us. I could not hold back my tears after seeing my mum. She was very happy to see me.
All the people were staying in tents, which were fixed temporarily using plastic, sacks and old rusted zinc sheets with holes sealed by plant leaves. It was a heartbreaking situation.
Everybody was sleeping under the same tent either on a straw mat or bed sheet over a carpet on the field. I lived in the village for three days in a cottage - a chicken farm that had been cleaned to be used as a shelter.
After a few days, there was shortage of food so I planned to return to Kathmandu with my mum. The local bus started to run from my village to Kathmandu as well. In Kathmandu, people were staying in a tent outside the house, and stayed in it for months for safety.
It is an experience I will never forget. This incident has shown the other side of life; a nightmare that will be sealed in my mind forever.
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