“Another 5.7 again. I am safe and taking some Xanax,” Himalayan Bazaar co-owner Pem Dorjee Sherpa posted on his Facebook page May 16. After a major earthquake hit Nepal on April 25–and barely a week after becoming a U.S. citizen–the Mt. Everest guide flew back to his native country. He got there in time to experience a powerful aftershock.
He was in his home village of Chyangba, inspecting the damage to the school he’d raised money to build, when the walls started to shake. He fled, but the school and other village buildings suffered further damage. The original 7.8 magnitude quake killed more than 8,000 Nepalese, and more than 100 others died in the May 12 aftershock. Fortunately, the families of both Sherpa and his wife, Moni Mulepati, were uninjured.
Besides assisting in his family’s village, Sherpa and other volunteers delivered food and medicine to other damaged villages. The couple have raised about $3,000 in a collection jar at their Main St. store and another $20,000 online through gofundme.com/chyangbavillage.
Although some of Sherpa’s Facebook posts suggested his considerable stress, others encouraged optimism. One posted shortly before he was scheduled to return in late May showed the spacious tents volunteers had set up as a temporary school. An inflatable globe of the world was suspended from the ceiling.