Nepal Update: The Last Hundred Grand, Better than Expected

The second transfer of money is working in the best way imaginable, better than anything I hoped for. At the time of this writing, it is traveling to one of Nepal's most devastated areas. 

The view from Ratna's shop, news photo

The view from Ratna's shop, news photo

My friend Ratna, whose location was hit hard by the quake, had told me to hold off on wiring the donations until he was ready to receive. He owns an art shop right at the heart of the disaster in Kathmandu. I can't count how many times we've sat together on the steps of his shop, which is opposite the now-collapsed temple in Durbar Square. What we saw sitting there was this temple. In fact, this picture might have been taken from his shop.

Yesterday, Ratna made his way on motorbike through the devastation to Kathmandu's most important Hindu temple, the ancient Pashipatinath. Hundreds and hundreds of cremations of earthquake victims are going on (the photo below is one I took some years ago).

Ratna's main objective was to check on an old friend of his, a Sadhu - a Hindu holy man in ashes and old linen, a renunciate of many decades - who lives in one of the small temple buildings. I've gone to meet him with Ratna on a few occasions. He told Ratna that he was about to embark to Sindupalchowk, which is one of the villages that was especially hard hit. Stories of the intense need there have been filtering back to Kathmandu. He was called to travel there to help in any way possible.

Without being able to re-establish contact with me, Ratna gave him the large amount of cash we had promised, plus a lot of his own money, to be dispatched to the immediate needs of the survivors there. I was in bed at midnight when his Skype call came through. Ratna is overworked and stressed, as you can imagine, but running sharp. It was good to be able to see him.

The Sadhu is now picking his way cross country to the scene of devastation. And our donations being put to the best use imaginable. Keep him in your thoughts on his difficult journey ahead.