Today is our last day in Nepal. Every deployment I’ve been on ends with a bit of sadness. As much as I miss my family, the excitement of being home doesn’t hit until my last plane ride back. There’s always a sense of so much still to do. More victims to recover, more houses that need to be stabilized (that could take years in this case), more medical help that needs sent, more food needs to be distributed, more clean water to be provided… But, I have to remember I am one, we are one organization. And, I’m suddenly brought back to the “Power of One”.
I am one. As one I did what I could. I came. I’ve spent hundreds & hundreds of hours over the last few years learning concepts that are as a foreign to me as another language. A language I’m still trying to become proficient at. As a team we arrived 72 hrs after the disaster, we have been here in the critical first week of a disaster. We have gathered crucial data on location of victims & remote villages/towns to better the response to those still isolated. We have trained hard as a team over the years to be here — to help Nepal. We have been able to share our years of experience with new USAR teams, which in turn helps more people in need.
The people of Nepal are friendly, humble & resilient. They are incredibly kind & peaceful. In all the disasters I’ve responded to I don’t think I’ve met people so comfortable with death. It’s almost as if it’s just a matter of fact for them. I can’t even image living in a world where death is so common that the emotion of it is buried under years of survival. And again, I’m sadden to think the world has already forgotten these wonderful people.
But, I AM one. I will not forget. I won’t forget their sweet faces. I won’t forget their stories. I won’t forget how & where they live. I will always look back at 2015 as the year of the Nepal Earthquake, just as I remember every year by the disaster I responded to. And as I talk about 2015 my mind will instantly flash to the people I met, the people I helped, the victims I found- just as it does with every response I’ve been on.
Today I remember I AM one.
To the people of Nepal: Thank you. You are forever embedded in my heart. Namaste.
Sil Underwood, Rescue Operator EMPACT Northwest