In Wake of April 25 Earthquake, Peace Corps Nepal Suspended

The Peace Corps office in Washington, D.C., announced on April 29, 2015, that all Peace Corps volunteers and trainees would be “temporarily leaving Nepal and returning to the United States.”

Just before noon on Saturday, April 25, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck with its epicenter in Gorkha district. You can get details on the earthquake from Wikipeddia’s article, April 2015 Nepal earthquake.

Anyhow, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for us. Facebook put in touch immediately with family and friends with its brilliant Safety Check but then tormented us with a endless stream of horrible news and troubling reports.

Langtang and Sindhupalchok districts were hit hard by the earthquake. The latter, however, served as the training site in the city of Chautara for the return of Peace Corps to Nepal from 2012 onwards. Many host families who had opened their homes to Peace Corps trainees were affected.

Peace Corps Nepal, officially online

Peace Corps Nepal has launched its own Web site, nepal.peacecorps.gov.

There are currently 38 Volunteers in Nepal working in agriculture. During their service in Nepal, Volunteers learn to speak the local language of Nepalese. More than 3,675 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Nepal since the program was established in 1962.

It’s pretty good, and it has information for future volunteers (on expectations and more, including packing suggestions). I really like the FAQ, which includes this sound advice—for those of you reading this right now:

What to Expect
Each volunteer’s experience is different. Invitees can read volunteer blogs, listen to RPCV stories and search the internet about Peace Corps and Nepal; however, they should not expect to know many things until arriving in country. […]

You can connect with the program on its official Peace Corps/Nepal Facebook page.

A collection of Nepal PCV blogs

I hear the N/199 group is doing well at the PST in Chautara, Sindhupalchok district. Very exciting. I am following a few of the PCV blogs with what I will admit is mix of admiration and envy. I said never again, but ah, to do it all over again—wait! no, I wouldn’t. I mean, I would, but I don’t have to. Never mind, doesn’t matter. Now I armchair quarterback.

I wish them well in their service and experiences. I hope I get to read some crazy shit, like about drinking jar for breakfast during training. Nonsense!—and I loved every minute of it.

Photographs from my Peace Corps experience

I carried a box with me most places I went while a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal. Because we knew we could be evacuated from the country any day, when we would travel away from post it became normal to take with you anything that you wouldn’t want to leave behind. For me, that was a small box, smaller than a shoebox, that kept all my 35mm negatives.

After returning home, I sent that box of negatives to ScanCafe and a few weeks, received my negatives back with a couple DVDs with an intimidating amount of photographs to organize.

So (10!) years later, on my personal photography site, I’ve put up three collections of photographs from my Peace Corps experience.

In the experience, part 1, and part 2, I have collected what I remember in terms of photographs. And in the volunteers, I consider images I made of those I served with. The larger, unedited collection of my Peace Corps/Nepal photographs is on Flickr, too.