Rachel and Finlay Hodge

Rachel and Finlay Hodge were former Methodist mission partners, who returned to Nepal as short term professional support to UMN to help with the earthquake reconstruction work in July 2015.
Blog: http://finrach.blogspot.co.uk

This was their first report, sent on 27th July 2015

"It's good to be back and to join the UMN Disaster Response Team which has already done major work in initial relief and planning. The team has had a hectic week to plan phase 2 reconstruction work for the focus area of Dhading District as quickly as possible. Finlay is working closely with the Nepali team headed by Jaap, disaster relief specialist from Holland and with Paul Wright (MCB). Paul and the team have worked tirelessly to relieve around 10,000 households from the immediate effects of the earthquake, distributing food and temporary shelter.

The task now is huge, working with over 7000 households. Major activities will be arranging animal auctions so farmers can replace lost goats and chickens; 'food for work' programmes for trail repairs and drinking water systems repairs. 900 stone masons will receive extra training so they can oversee the build of earthquake resistant houses and the temporary learning centres needed to replace damaged schools. These centres will also act as emergency shelters. A big problem in far north Dhading is ongoing landslides during the monsoon so many people have abandoned their homes and need better shelters.

Our team was hoping to visit our local partners in Dhading on Friday but this was cancelled due to a  bandh (strike) - people are rising up against the lack of government direction and a constitution still not agreed after 7 years. Many people we meet mention this frustration - taxi drivers, shop keepers, work colleagues. 

We have listened to many accounts of people living through the earthquake and realise that people are still very fearful and trying to get over the experience even if they have not themselves suffered loss. We had a small tremor 4.6 on Wednesday and watched our neighbours carry out from their house a very elderly family member and just wait in the garden in the rain......A Tibetan lady said she went into auto pilot during the first earthquake looking after people but was terrified in the second quake. Fearful UMN workers at the annual conference in Pokhara had left teenage children in Kathmandu revising for exams and had no way of contacting them for some time after the quake. In Dhading parents are still terrified of letting their children out of sight.

At the UMN weekly gathering for prayer the reading was Matthew  6: 33 & 34, 'so do not worry'. Durga, a UMN staff member, encouraged us, in spite of all the concerns, to have the faith not to be over-anxious about anything -  the suffering of people, the urgency, the travel dangers, etc. but to focus on the character of God our provider, and to do and be our very best with everyone we encounter, in the name  of Jesus."

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