Publication date: July 7, 2015

Article written by Armando Menéndez in Nepal, published in the newspaper El Comercio


antes-quieren-letrinas-que-arroz“THEY WANT LATRINES BEFORE RICE” (article in Spanish)

By Armando Menéndez

Communications are very poor.
I don’t know if my emails arrive. The photos are too big, and this wifi does not allow me to send them, only in low resolution, like life here.

Life continues and pulls the people like a horse of his carriage.
If it wasn’t because life pulls us many would have died to see their homes destroyed, and their loved ones buried alive.

Supposedly, the authorities of this country should help more. However, are they doing so? I have to say yes in order to continue here and help them out, so I say it.
For them, I will say anything it takes, even if the reality is quite different.

We already had problems to land because of the large monsoon rains which kept us in the air one hour until the pilot decided to land because he would run out of fuel before the clouds would run out of water. And on land, people living under plastic sheeting because their homes are a pile of rubble, are now living in mud. They have absolutely nothing left, and they ask me for latrines before rice.
It is not easy when suddenly 1000 people of a village are forced to relieve themselves around the corners. Before rice, dignity.

For this reason, this coming week DAF will deliver 20 prefabricated houses and 12 latrines with 3000 liters flushing water tank. A bit of Asturias and the Asturian people will stay in Nepali land, where also 4 lives from Avilés will remain.

Now I will go back to my hospital where an endless queue is waiting for me. I am the one who directs them, the urban guard.

The ones with an open fracture I send them for urgent surgery. But the one who is not breathing because his ribs are crushed, where do I send him? There are no specialised doctors. Those working in other NGOs, s are having the same problems like me. But in the end, the miracle happens. It is the people who support one another. Humanity is hidden behind the pain. But why wait to suffer to feel more human. Behind the tragedy, it turns out that human beings don’t need so many things, not even rice. They need dignity.

From the most devastated villages in the Valley of Kathmandu (Harishiddhi, Bungamati and Khokana), I’ve written these notes in case it may be of interest to someone.

Armando Menéndez

Fundación DAF


Download the article in PDF (in Spanish)

Download the article in PDF (in Spanish)

Daf, ElComercio, Nepal

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