VIDEO

Nepal Now: The Country Marks A Year On With Remarkable Resilience

27/04/2016 6:50 PM AEST | Updated 01/08/2016 10:28 AM AEST
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter

On April 25, 2015 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal and killed over 8,000 people, injuring more than 21,000. Almost a month later a second earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 took another 3,000 lives.

When Kayla Robertson touched down in Nepal a year ago as part of World Vision's Emergency Response Team, she said the nation's capital of Kathmandu was a broken city.

"Emotions were raw, aftershocks were strong and a layer of debris from the broken buildings coated the streets. It was like nothing I'd seen before," she told The Huffington Post Australia.

nepal now

A year on, the country is still rebuilding.

It was the cultural grief that shook her most. After all, Nepal is a country that cherishes their religious sites and they were now confronted with these very sacred sites and ancient heritage buildings that were damaged beyond repair.

"People were mourning the sites' destruction as well as the loss of their partners, children, parents, friends and loved ones," Robertson said.

"Despite all of this, it was these regular people who were reaching out to help one another.

nepal now

Robertson and Greenstein said it was impossible to film Nepal a year on without capturing their remarkable positivity.

"I saw families whose houses were damaged camping in their neighbour's backyards, hand-drawn signs appeared in shop windows offering to help make phone calls and recharge mobile batteries for survivors; it was a nation banding together."

A year on, Robertson along with her partner Max Greenstein, went back to Nepal to see where the country is now.

The filmmakers wanted to create a snapshot of everyday life in Kathmandu, and while they expected the earthquake recovery to play a significant part in that story, they were struck by the philosophical outlook people held on the disaster.

"For instance, we met with a monk at the well-known Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastery, which is an ancient site that will soon be pulled down and rebuilt due to structural damage following the earthquakes," Robertson told HuffPost Australia.

"The monk said that the disaster was an opportunity for Nepal to practice compassion, and that this event was simply a lesson in life's impermanence. He had a wholly transient perspective; that life must move on."

nepal now

Nepal is "a place of incredible beauty, deep culture and unrivaled hospitality," Robertson said.

Much has been said about the lack of progress made in rebuilding Nepal with the country being described as a city of tents and tarpaulins.

"Since arriving, we have worked with several NGOs in remote areas and have seen first hand how the hardest hit of the population are still suffering. Many survivors are still living in temporary shelters and there is little sign of life improving for them in the immediate future," Robertson explained.

Despite this, the people of Nepal have shown incredible positivity and strength.

nepal now

Many of the Nepalese people have chosen to take a philosophical view of life after the earthquake, the filmmakers explain.

"Whilst it's important to remember that Nepal is a country in need of support, we also wanted to remind people that Nepal is so much more than the earthquake.

"It's a place of incredible beauty, deep culture and unrivaled hospitality. Many parts of Nepal were untouched by the earthquake, and many of those areas that were badly affected are moving on. While we didn't go into making this film with a particular agenda, it was impossible to film daily life here without featuring the energy and positivity of people today."

Nepal Now was created by Kayla Robertson and Max Greenstein of Matter Studio.