“Why are they waving at the car?” I naively asked the driver who was taking me to basecamp in Bagarat. “Their homes have been destroyed – they are asking us to stop and help,” the driver somberly replied. It was then that it sank in – I was in a disaster area. The tipping point for me – the point when shock turned to tears, was when we drove by a school. The school kids yelled – in English – “STOP! STOP! STOP!”. But we just kept driving – even if we could have helped them, we would have been mobbed if we stopped.
I also never expected to have trouble taking photographs. For the first time, I was no longer greeted with inquisitive and happy looks. I was snarled at – one person even hissed. “Don’t take my photo!” one yelled. “Don’t take photos – give us something instead!”, “You only come to take photos – not to help”….
This is the first real photo I was able to take of a collapsed building. Buildings like this weren’t hard to find – there is nothing here but fallen trees and collapsed buildings. Its easier to count the buildings that HAVEN’T collapsed (yet) than to count the ones that have.
The road to basecamp was a small narrow road. Anything you wanted to make way or overtake someone – you basically had to risk life and limb and drive in a very angular ditch. I was worried we’d be stuck. We didn’t get stuck – but as you can see above, some weren’t so lucky.
The residents who used to have homes and are now homeless have made makeshifts slum housing on the side of the road. I tried to take more photos on the way in – but was hissed and heckled at for not doing anything more.
Destruction… was everywhere…
(Disclaimer: Tagging along with Global Medic and Muslim Aid in no way implies support or endorsement of The Uncultured Project, me, or my views. The views expressed are my own and do not reflect Global Medic, The David McAntony Gibson Foundation, Muslim Aid, or any other NGO or charity. I am not under the employment or contract of any of these organizations.)