Greetings from Maharzans


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Short Documentary: Survivors’ Stories Amid Unimaginable Loss


Not that long ago on 25th April 2015, a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal that claimed nearly 8000 lives and displaced estimated 200,000 people. After experiencing more than 150 aftershocks and several 5+ Richter scales tremors, people thought that dust had settled and started going back to their houses that were livable. People were trying to recover and come to the terms of unimaginable suffering and loss. However, the quake is just not done yet with the people of Nepal. Today, another massive 7.4-magnitude quake wrecked the country and knocked down several houses that resisted it for a time being.

Samaritan’s Purse volunteers on the ground filmed this short documentary to tell the survivors’ stories and shows the ways how we can extend our help.

Watching the destruction of the city of Kathmandu is even more so heartbreaking and gut-wrenching experience for us who grew up visiting these places that are shown in the documentary.

samaritanspurse.org/nepal

Kiran Chetry Pleas for Nepal Aid


Aerial Footage from Nepal Reveals Earthquake Devastation


The death toll in Nepal has risen beyond 3,700 after Saturday’s devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake. The worst earthquake the country has seen in 80 years devastated the capital of Kathmandu along with surrounding areas including the ancient city of Bhaktapur. Arial footage shows the impact across the region.

Source: Mashable

http://mashable.com/2015/04/27/aerial-footage-nepal-earthquake/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-main-link

#NepalEarthquake 7.9: National Tragedy


My tight knit community of around 7,000 is also hit hard by this earthquake. The United States Geological Survey reported that a scale of 7.9 magnitude earthquake wrecked Kathmandu valley, the capital city of Nepal. The epicenter was only 35 kilometers, the east of Lamjung, Nepal. At this point, the Nepal Government has confirmed more than 1500 death toll and this number could rise since the search and rescue operation is still underway. Tremors have been felt more than 65 times within these past 8 hours.

I am very thankful to God that my dear mother was able to escape with a sprained arm from this fateful day. She received a minor injury to her hand after a flying brick hit her hand while she was running away for safety. Many were not fortunate enough to make it to the safe place. I just heard from my brother-in-law that a man who I know lost his son and his wife barely survived. He was busy all day helping people to get to the hospitals on his motorbike. Houses and historical monuments collapsed. Some are utterly flattened to the ground. The entire community is evacuated and now sheltering at the open field in the make-do tents.


“I can’t even cry after witnessing what had just happened to our people.”


I also talked to a friend who is providing security to those shelters and the abandoned houses from being plundered. As it is reported that houses in other areas have been looted. I have nothing but respect for my friends and others who voluntarily offered themselves to guard those houses safe and keep immoral and inhumane thugs at the bay. The total depravity of human heart is evidently there for us to see and know the need of a Savior!

I can’t even imagine what people are going through right now. As my friend said, “I can’t even cry after witnessing what had just happened to our people.” That is true which is beyond my comprehension. I have never witnessed such a horror with my naked eyes other than watching it unfolding in videos or pictures. One thing I know for sure is that we are hurt and suffering now. We need each other as we come together to grieve for the loss of our beloved ones. This is not the time to post your apocalyptic or prophetic verses with tragic pictures on the social media. Nor is the time to merely post RIP acronyms throughout the web. Regardless of our belief, we ought to come up with the term to grieve together as a nation and console each other. It is a time for us to demonstrate our love for each other in action.

Master Stroke of Nature


I still  had my seatbelt on seated in my car on the parking lot of Meijer while I was typing this post on the cell phone. The engine was still on. Since it was raining, I was not so sure if I wanted to get off and run in the rain to get in the store. Suddenly I noticed this spectacular view on the windshield. It was interesting how rain transformed the view as such that a mesmerizing work of a painter. It looked as if he were stroking his large paintbrush on the palette and striking it on the canvas with oil colors. 

Nepal – Can It Compare to Switzerland, Really?


Surely, Nepal has its challenges. The many generations prior leading up to now have been the unfortunate beneficiaries of poor policies and agreements that were sealed less than a century ago with the then British India. Nepal continues to bear the brunt of politicians with no set goals or vision. They will remain corrupt as long as they can. They will give a blind eye and a deaf ear to the country’s problems as long as they can pocket their undeserved earnings. It is high time all these useless, uneducated, and selfish politicians are ousted from their positions. Younger, educated, and visionary leaders have to step up to be in charge of this country which has a great potential for progress.

Nepal is compared to Switzerland with the likes of its natural beauty: the tall mountains, the beautiful terrain, geographic diversity and natural resources. But, with some calculated and committed steps from the right people it could truly  compare to Switzerland in the progressive terms as well.

“Hagen came to Nepal 62 years ago because he felt landlocked and mountainous Nepal had a lot in common with Switzerland, and could be made in its image.”

SwitzNep
Photo credit:Toni Hagen

As I write this blog, I am deeply encouraged by some friends who have taken intentional steps to change the face of Nepal’s future. Also to be noted is the education and experience they received in the western countries that have effected in their courageous decision-making. As a result of their western education, they realize that in the hands of the right people, Nepal has every potential to step up to the plate.

Let’s begin with my friend and sister- Bimala Shrestha Pokharel. I met her in Nepal. In the course of her time at Calvin along with a trip to Kenya while in school, she envisioned returning to Nepal to use her skills and education there. You can read about this amazing individual here at http://higherground.com.np/hg/

Dorje Gurung is an international educator I briefly met during my last visit to Nepal. He credits his success and “chance at life” to the education he received against all odds. Dorje, too, had an opportunity to pursue higher education in the US. He spearheads a non-profit organization and community development program to create scholarships for kids from poor backgrounds. You can read about him at http://dorjegurung.com/

And, recently I read about Saluja Acharya, a Nepali woman who resigned her high paying position at Blue Cross Blue Shield in the US and returned to Nepal. The company she started currently employs 60 engineers from within Nepal. Read about her here http://www.nepalipatra.com/news/detail/13790/14

I have lived in this States for over a decade. I have been blessed to have friends from all over. I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience as well, and grown in many ways but I still long for my native land. I still pray that Nepal would look brighter for its inhabitants. I am surprised at how many Nepalese hold esteemed positions in the area of international affairs, media, and businesses. We have surely been making a huge difference in the international arena. Yet, yet, why aren’t these talented individuals shining in their native land?

1) Could educators motivate and inspire them?
I know of professors who have partnered with their students to start up projects in their students’ home country.

2) Could friends help with networking?
Thomas Morgan, a independent writer and producer, learned about Pushpa Basnet, a social worker in Nepal and connected her with people in his network passionate about the cause. She was able to provide infrastructure and opportunities to children in her domain of social work.

3) Could friends provide spiritual and intellectual nourishment?
My pastor in Nepal and his wife have international visitors all year long. Their friends’ visits encourage them to keep up the great work they do despite Nepal’s grim circumstances. They are intelligent people and sometimes express a lack of platform to have intelligent conversations, explore new ideas and so on. The friends they went to school with tend to fulfill that need as well.

Personally, my husband and I also aspire to move back to Nepal. We have a vision to plant sound, bible-based churches. Despite the unpopular perspective surrounding evangelical Christians, we hope we can still help Nepalese and Nepal with our Christian worldview. I hope our Christian worldview is not a turn-off, but a desire and invitation to partner with everyone peacefully to work toward a common goal.  If time permits, I would like to take some courses in Counseling and Women’s health to serve in those areas that I observe Nepal has a great need for.

Are we materialistically comfortable living in the US? Yes. Are our kids getting free and good education? Yes. After we finish our graduate studies, will we find better-paying jobs? Yes. Have we been tempted to live here? Why not. But we do not want to be swayed. We believe that our faith will help us to face the challenges that we foresee in Nepal. We hope to use our faith, skills, and education to help better the condition of Nepal. I commend more Nepalese living around the world to do the same. I think the younger generations are better-equipped to effect change in Nepal. We need to band together against the corrupt ways of our country. And then Nepal could truly compare to Switzerland. :)

Here is my point, but don’t judge those who don’t return because they may not have a good opportunity to go back.

Downtown Grand Rapids: Art of the Collaborative City


There was a time when people knew or had heard the name of Detroit more than the state of Michigan. They would more likely not know if you were to tell them that you were living in Michigan, least Grand Rapids. Usually I tell people back home that I live in a small village called Grand Rapids. However, I started learning to love this city for what it is – beautiful city with a lot of creativity and unpredictable weather.  

Also, my three kids were born here.

Beer loving people have even more reason to like this city, as it is one of the prominent craft beer producing cities. As someone told me that if you were to meet new people or looking for new friends, pubs and bars that serve craft beer must be the ones to visit ;)

Unfortunately, that is not the place for me to go. It does not mean that there is no place in the city for people like me who don’t drink. You may go to great burger places, restaurants that serve ethnic cuisines like Lebanese, Jordanian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. Grand Rapids is becoming a home to multi-ethnic and multicultural people.

What more? Grand Rapids is also #1 must visit city in 2015.
http://www.groupon.com/articles/best-vacation-spots-in-the-us-2015-ga?utm_source=FAC_&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=US_GRGD&linkId=13272544

Also, take a look at this video!

I am an Interpreter


“Hi, I’m Satya, Nepali interpreter, from ___ (agency) for ___ am/pm appointment.”

This has become my regular introductory part every day since I became a freelancer. Having taken on different roles at different workplaces, I have seen and felt that my introduction and identity also has been taking a different form. There are places and people to whom I introduce myself as a pastor, husband, and father. For my livelihood, ​for now, freelance interpreter and translator have been roles that bring income.

I came to the conclusion that merely being able to speak English does not necessarily mean all can interpret. Only a few have that gift can interpret as accurately as possible.

I have been interpreting for churches, courts, hospitals, and schools since 2009. Interpreting a sermon simultaneously once a month in Nepali for the senior pastor in the church that I worked for 3 years proved to be very challenging. I was the primary benefactor beneficiary, as it honed my interpretation skill as well as fed my spiritual needs. I, however, am not negating that other Nepali-Speaking people who were attending church those days were not benefiting from my service. This opened my eyes and helped me to see this profession from whole new perspective. It debunked the myth that I had for so many years that anyone can be an interpreter. I came to the conclusion that merely being able to speak English does not necessarily mean all can interpret. Only a few have that gift thus, can interpret as accurately as possible.

The Himalayas from 20,000 ft.


The aerial cinema experts at Teton Gravity Research release the first ultra HD footage of the Himalayas shot from above 20,000 ft. with the GSS C520 system, the most advanced gyro-stabilized camera system in the world. Filmed from a helicopter with a crew flying from Kathmandu at 4,600 ft. up to 24,000 ft. on supplemental oxygen, these are some of the most stable, crisp, clear aerial shots of these mountains ever released, which include Mt. Everest, Ama Dablam, and Lhotse.

…where East meets West

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