Palsang describes what happened to her and her new born son on April 25
Palsang Tamang is 20 years old and she is from the mountainous Sindhupalchowk District of Nepal to the northeast of Kathmandu. She lived there with her husband and her in-laws. Everyone was so happy when Palsang became pregnant and very excited for their first child. It was difficult to find proper care and treatment in their village for Palsang’s pregnancy, so they decided to come to Lalitpur for work and for access to hospital delivery. Palsang’s husband Nima found work in the handicraft business.Although they came to the capital city full of hope for a better life, the money Nima made was not enough for them to survive well or to provide nutritious food for Palsang. Palsang gave birth to a son just a few days before the quake. They were so happy to have their newborn son and came back to their home to show everyone the new member of their family.
This is what Palsang described happening on April 25 when the earthquake hit, just a few short days after she had given birth to her infant son.
“I was in my rented house on the first floor. As it was Saturday, my husband was off work so my husband cooked food and we ate together. Then he went out as he had some work of his own to do. I was alone in the house. I cleaned my baby then he fell asleep. I did some household chores and I then thought to take a nap and was about to fall sleep when the bed I was in started to tremble.
The land started to shake and I was numb, unaware of what to do.I heard people screaming, crying, shouting and the ground making noises. I saw everything shaking in my room and I could not even stand up to gather up and hold my son. The tears gradually rolled out and I thought it was the last day of my life.I heard my neighbor calling me and pleading for me to come outside. With the little guts I could summon up, I came out carrying my son. As we came out the door of the house, the house started to completely collapse at the same time.Everybody immediately ran into the open space nearby.I would not have come out if my neighbor had not called me. I owe her this life. I started to tremble with fear and worry about my husband who was at his work and my in-laws in Shindhupulchowk. I couldn’t get in contact with any of them as there was no proper network. After few hours my husband came and I was so relieved. Later on we started making contact in the village.”
“ My in- laws were fine too but their house, with all their cattle trapped inside it in, had collapsed. Because the earthquake occurred in the mid day, many lives were saved as people rarely stay inside the house. I was happy to know that no lives were lost, but they knew that the living would be very difficult as there was no food left outside to survive.”
When asked what would have happened if she had not found the Womens’ Foundation shelter to stay at she says: “I would end up living in a tent in a nearby ground where I would not get proper post natal care and my son too would have to suffer a lot.Before we came here, we did not have our own tent; we had to share with others and adjust to the numbers of people living in the tent.”
“My stay in that tent was very pathetic. We had no food to eat as all our food, utensils, clothes and medicine were buried inside the house. There was no way, except to wait for others to give us some food to eat. We had to sleep the first night on an empty stomach. With each big aftershock, even my son felt the shaking of the earth as we sat directly on the ground without any mattress, so I kept him on my lap the whole night. The next day my husband was able to pull out some food to eat and some mattresses. I could not get enough food for my health and suffered from the cold. There was no place left in my son cheeks without a mark of mosquito. When we heard about The Women’s Foundation on the radio, we felt relief and immediately came for help. My husband and I, along with my son, are very thankful to Women’s Foundation for providing such facilities for women and taking care of them when they need it the most.”