A gift with a roof

OM International | Nepal

Before the earthquake Karmu lived with her husband and their 14-year-old son in Langtang, Nepal. For nine years Karmu struggled with depression and experienced phases when she had no energy to get up in the mornings. At other times, she could work and had the energy to keep up her household. Despite her sickness, for years she and her husband saved their money to build a new house, which they began building in 2014. Their new house had a few guestrooms attached and was located along a popular trekking trail that leads through the beautiful Langtang valley. Karmu and her husband borrowed over 3,000 USD from their friends and family to finish the construction of their house in January 2015. With great hopes for the future and a plan for income through tourism in the years to come, the house appeared to be a great investment.

On April 25th, 2015, everything changed. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal triggered major avalanches to come crashing down from the Langtang glacier 3,500m above Karmu’s village. That day she lost her husband, as well as their newly built house. Only she and her son survived the earthquake. “I thought that I lost everything and that there was no point in continuing to live,” Karmu said. “I was at a point where I said to myself that it would have been fine with me if I would have died in the earthquake as well." Karmu received some building materials like other families in the area, but had to give them away to pay off her high debts. She thought she would never be able to rebuild a house of her own and felt helpless. For many weeks, she felt so hopeless that she would lie in her bed all day and refuse to leave her relatives room, where she was staying. Her neighbours were concerned about her and requested OM Nepal to help her somehow.

After many months of mourning the death of her husband, Karmu was selected by her community and OM Nepal to receive one of the six earthquake-resistant model houses that were built in Langtang after the earthquake. Walking towards her home the day it was completed Karmu said to an OM team member; “There are still days when I struggle with depression, but on this very day I am filled with joy and hope as OM Nepal is handing over my new house to me! As my son grows up, we now have a home to call ours!”

Upon reaching her new house, the team member shared that they were also filled with joy to finally hand over the new house. After many days of hard work purchasing the building materials and transporting them safely by truck, helicopter, mule and porter to the remote site, the house was finished. After many days of instructing and coordinating the construction workers and organising all the accommodation, food and tools needed, it was time to celebrate and thank God for His help. A blessing was prayed over the family and home and the keys handed over. After Karmu untied the ribbon at the entrance, she opened the door and walked into her new house for the first time with great joy and a new hope.  

Karmu took a detailed look at the inside of her new house before she turned and said with tears in her eyes and a broken voice: “I want to thank OM Nepal and everyone who helped me rebuild my house! Please tell everyone who helped and gave money for this house how grateful I am and that I thank them very much for helping me!”

Published: Wednesday, 25 April 2018
Credit: OM International
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