On July 27, 2015, twenty families whose homes were destroyed in the devastating April 2015 earthquake were moved into newly constructed, temporary shelters.
Previously living in makeshift, plastic tents that were vulnerable to the heat and rain, residents were eager to relocate to the new, temporary housing. After witnessing the unsafe, hot, wet conditions in which the Bhaktapur residents were living, I was relieved and happy to oversee their successful and safe relocation to new housing.
I was personally challenged by the many obstacles inherent in a project of this size. I met with government officials to obtain land clearance for building construction, project contractors to discuss building design, and finally, with community leaders and affected families. Of the many families requesting assistance, I was able to select only twenty to receive housing. This was the most challenging task, as I would have liked to provide all families with assistance.
Before beginning construction I was eager to move the families from their makeshift tents and advised project manager Dinesh to expedite the construction by hiring additional personnel. Dinesh was on-site daily and provided me with often twice-daily phone updates while I traveled in Europe and the United States.
On the inauguration day, people carrying flowers, incense, and honor scarves lined the road for almost a half mile. The entire community, dressed in their finest attire, showed appreciation for this unprecedented assistance by leading me, along with drummers and dancers, in a procession to the ribbon-cutting ceremony,
I was able to bless each room and say a prayer as the families moved into their new housing.
I continue to rejoice with the families and send my blessings along with a deep sense of gratitude to all those who contributed with financial support and time. Finally, I send a special thank you to my sponsors and project managers.