In the past few years, natural disasters have been a big challenge for Nepal. It invited crucial problems that I wish we never had but as they say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. We, as humans, have left no stones unturned as we fight for our lives, a second invisible war of its kind in a short span against an invisible threat. What was most important during these times were the feeling of togetherness and willingness to help each other.
While I write this, I recall the dark days after the earthquake and the flood. We were recovering from the catastrophes, seeing some positive rays of hope, when yet another calamity came knocking. As the pandemic made its way into our homes, many of us suffocated with pneumonia that came with the coronavirus and couldn’t see their loved ones. While some battled COVID-19 themselves, others had to look after their family members while being infected themselves. Some had to isolate themselves with just a layer of plastic in a single room they shared with the rest of the family in home isolation.
The lockdown hasn’t been the same for everyone and it hasn’t been easy on anyone either. Despite our best efforts, many had to face the consequences of incomprehensible losses in lives or businesses. But in these times, the most important thing was having hope, staying positive and stand strong despite the obstacles. The pandemic might have begun with bouts of despair but many served consistently during these tough times to bring the hope of survival.
The roads weren’t empty during the lockdown. The ordinary Nepalis paved the way to get out of their comfort zone to provide emergency and urgent relief all while risking their lives. Some drove hundreds of miles to transport resources while others received hundreds of calls per day for oxygen and relief requests. Some worked remotely despite contracting COVID-19 while others prepared meals for the people working. Some donated all they could while others visited remote areas to facilitate people. But whatever we did, we did all we could in our prowess.
The words ‘collective effort’ best defines what we did as Oxygen For Nepal (OFN). All the team members braced themselves to come up together to serve. With our supporters and well-wishers from all over the world, we were able to impact many lives. Friends and families from all over Nepal and abroad approached us to serve the severely hit villages and cities. Nights and days of hard work only make sense when we see the lives that have been impacted today. We were able to provide oxygen cylinders, concentrators, food rations, PPEs, and other medical and safety gear to support the COVID-19 patients and frontline workers. With the largest collaboration of the civil society and private sector, we are on our way to install 10 oxygen generating units in different provinces of Nepal. This will help us deal with the third wave to some extent.
I cannot ensure if I have saved anyone but I can assure you that my tiny effort has gathered strength in someone to stay alive with our assistance. In difficult times, I believe that it is our moral duty as human beings to help each other. It is the oneness that gives us the courage to overcome the worst plague of modern times. I believe that we still have one thing in common: hope and that hope will encourage us to open up possibilities amidst the lockdown, the possibility of oneness, to save lives, remain strong and come out stronger.