Forty-year-old Gauri Sankar Gaund’s life changed dramatically when a tornado swept over Bara district. Not only his business but also his physical health was taken away from him by it, which left him exposed to dark days for a long time. Almost a year later, the aftermath of the storm is still noticeable, but with the help of Caritas, Gauri managed to regain hope and is slowly recovering from this difficult time.
“I remember having taken a rest at home because I worked all day!” Gauri, from the village of Rampurwa, begins to tell his story. “But suddenly I had no choice but to run.” It was March 31, 2019 at 7:45 a.m.: A tornado swept over Bara district and destroyed almost ten entire villages. It lasted only a minute, but left many injured and hundreds of families homeless. “As I ran – I didn’t know where I was going – I fell. And all I remember is that I couldn’t run after that,” continues Gauri. Other villagers helped him take him to a safe place, but his injury could not be reversed. “I was finally treated two days later. I got a cast. It hurt, but nothing hurt so much as not being able to fully support my family during these difficult days.” Gauri Sankar Gaund owned a small food stall that he drove around villages to sell snacks like Chat Patte and Pani Puri. However, the tornado deprived him of this important source of income. “All my efforts were gone. I had to start from scratch which was difficult because I am the only breadwinner of my family. At that time, I couldn’t even send my children to school”, he says with a sad smile. While his leg was recovering, he had to stay at home for four full months and was largely dependent on other villagers to support him and his family. “It was such a sad and pity situation!”
A year later, although his injury had healed externally, his economic situation was only beginning to recover, like a much worse wound. Caritas Nepal supported him with a loan so that he could start his business all over again. Although his new booth is much smaller than the previous one, he works with even more sacrifice and determination to overcome these difficult times! “I work every day. I don’t go on vacation. I like my job, but I like it even more being able to work for my family.” He says with a big smile. “But because my leg is still handicapping me, I don’t go too far, I stay in the neighbouring villages and schools and sell my dishes there!” He currently earns 800 to 900 rupees a day, which enables him to cover all his medicines and the daily needs of the family and even to send his children to school. He adds proudly:
“I’m glad people don’t judge the food I’m selling based on the size of my stand. The business is smaller, but people don’t care. It’s the taste that matters to them!”
“Now I can cover all of my family’s expenses myself. It is a great relief!” Gauri is grateful for the support he received, but also for what was done for his villagers. “Everyone can relax now and look into a bright future. Thank you very much!”