One year age today, the Earth grumbled beneath our Nepalese brothers and sisters. In only a handful of minutes, much of Nepal was left jobless, homeless, and emotionally destroyed over their lost loved ones. I do not know that pain. I cannot even begin to comprehend the kind of pain that inflicts. To struggle with the unrelenting aftershocks, to move pieces of your broken home in the hopes you'll find a loved one breathing, to explain this to a child; situations I would not wish upon the most evil of human. The sad truth of it all is that this happened to men and women willing to give their last piece of bread to others in need, while expecting nothing in return. It leaves me hard pressed to believe in the righteousness of this world.
For Nepalis, the only possible explanation for the shaking of the Earth is God’s rage. The Gods are angry with us and this is their retribution. I find it difficult, no matter who hears your prayers, to refute this proclamation. The parasitic destruction we inflict on this wonderful planet cannot be sustained. I think it wise to consider our own habits. Maybe the best way for us to prevent another disaster is to regain our harmony with the Earth.
For many years, I built a treasure trove of excuses to deflect the responsibility I felt for helping others. I was much too busy with school. I simply could never afford to make a difference. I may miss out on an adventure with my friends. On the morning of April 26th, 2015 I sat in an Aspen coffee shop, contemplating my next excuse. I was at a loss. I could not conjure another excuse to remain idle. I had to go to Nepal to help in whatever way I could.
One week later, my brother and I found ourselves red eyed and delirious as we waited for our bags in the Kathmandu airport. After three anxious hours, two candy bars, and much deliberation as to whether or not our contact got tired of waiting for us in the circus of taxi drivers outside and left, our bags tumbled down the belt. In the subsequent moments, I met a man I now consider to be one of my greatest friends. Prakash Ojha, my Nepali brother, brought us to his home and filled our famine with Dahl Bat.
Over the next 15 days, my new family and I began a construction project that would, upon it’s completion, provide homes for about 600 villagers. Watching the village rally around a cause, one providing temporary relief from the distressed reality that is now their lives, profoundly changed my life. The sore muscles, 10 hour work days, not having enough cash, and the relationship woes of my life in the States, seemed to me so petty. How could I justify my inconveniences? I will never be able to, not after an elderly woman with very little joyfully invited our team inside her tarp shelter for tea. We found ourselves sitting next to her roommates, three goats, a handful of chickens, and one inquisitive buffalo, as we laughed together. She was beautiful and she did not care to know it. Her body was strong. Her mind was sharp. Her smile was deeply infectious. Her life had been torn apart and she seemed not to notice.
“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” Plato told me this during an ethics class I took in college. I find it amusing how impeccably the ideals of an ancient philosopher still apply to life today. The three weeks following April 25th, 2015 established the beginnings of my most adventurous year to date.
My new family and I registered our efforts with the IRS to become CASD USA, a humanitarian organization that I am immensely proud to call my home. CASD USA has built shelters in Ghusel, distributed warm clothes to the children, and constructed a water pipeline in Khaireni this year. These accomplishments are just the foundation for CASD. The growing beauty of this organization lays ahead. It will take the help of our friends, colleagues, and families to make a difference. I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to work with my loved ones in this endeavor.
The year following the earthquake has made me the happiest man on Earth. Thank you everybody for your overwhelming support and love in our endeavors. I look forward to the coming years.
Sean ‘Akash’ Robison