Sindhupachok, Dumja Simdhuli, Kusheswor

Sindhupachok...all village names I can’t pronounce. My Nepalese pastor friends will help when I ask. They’d teach me how to say them in the local way – with a roll of the tongue and a shake of the head here and there. But I’d promptly forget the next moment (especially the shaking of the head.) Then I’d ask again. They’d kindly repeat them. Strange names. Strange customs. I’ll not have the time to get to know them. Stranger still, no, arrogantly stupid, is the ongoing debate on how, and on what basis, foreign aid should be allowed into the country. Thousands affected by the twin earthquakes in April and May are not helped. Not officially anyway. Inaction, I think, is not an answer to misery and suffering.

The picture I’ve post here is representative. Thousands of houses were destroyed. Debris is left where they had fallen unless cleared by villagers who needed to use the paths. Displaced people, old and young, men and women – mostly women and the young – are left to fend for themselves.

Millions of dollars of aid, all foreign, are there to be deployed for relief. They can’t be deployed. At least not in a quick and large way which would be what the poor people needed. Because, again, the powers that be, are debating whether to tax the aid. Or, perhaps, they should all be commandeered into a central fund to be distributed by self-serving politicians. Strange as these may sound, they are not hairy fairy ideas. They are serious. They are seriously being debated in the highest law making assembly in the land. Strange. I’ll never understand.

In the meantime, each affected household are promised 15,000 Nepalese Rupees (S$202.00) to rebuild their houses. They might be able to buy a few plastic or zinc sheets for roofs or to erect walls to keep out the rain. I heard the price of bricks have gone up since the earthquakes.

Is this showing mercy?

I know my bible says, “judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy.” How would they be judged?

I met several foreigners there. Americans, Canadians, Singaporeans, Taiwanese. They all want to show mercy. They all tell the same strange story.

Didn’t the Good Lord commanded us to “open wide your hand to the needy and to the poor, in your land.” Why is mercy denied the needy? Is delaying the same as denying? Strange.

I guess I’d better get back to learning how to pronounce those strange names.

Pastor Robert Chew