Asmita Shrish (a wonderful Nepali filmmaker) and I have more or less finished editing a film we shot in Nepal this spring (2016). It follows an amazing woman, Nima Gyalmu Lama, as she sets about rebuilding her house, and to an extent her world, after the devastating earthquake , landslides and avalanche destroyed much of her community in April 2015. Sixteen members of her close family were killed, her house destroyed and the place she knew changed forever. However, along with the other survivors, she carries on, often with great humour, strength and dignity. It was humbling to be with her.
Walking through the valley was also a powerful experience. The lower reaches are warm, enclosed and green There are signs of the devastation, but it is not overwhelming. However once you emerge into the upper valley it is open, ravaged, bleak; the debris of destruction is everywhere. One village, the main settlement of the valley, simply does not exist anymore, it is a debris field.
Over 300 people lost their lives including around 100 visitors, mostly foreign trekkers. The rest were locals, porters, visiting labour and guides. The remaining people in the valley are now disparate for the tourists to return. Rebuilding in both a literal and a metaphoric sense is going on everywhere, one can only hope that business and good fortune will return to this place.
The film we shot, resulting in a short (18 minute) documentary will be released to festivals from this autumn. If you were one of the people I met in the valley, please do get in touch and I’ll give you access to a private version.