Hi fellow Foundation CrossFit Athletes,
Some of you know that I’m an engineer and have worked in Nepal for the past 8 years. Most of my projects have been building small, local water supplies through Engineers Without Borders. CrossFit for me has been the best thing I could have done to keep me ready for the rough conditions in our villages– that Paleo Chair has come in pretty handy!
Two weeks ago I left for my 25th trip to Nepal; I was incredibly fortunate that the earthquake happened the day I reached Bangkok, one day before I was to land in Kathmandu. The Kathmandu hotel I had booked is brick and was badly damaged; one of my teammates was already in Nepal, pretty much right at the epicenter and described boulders “as big as a car” crashing down around him. Most of my friends and coworkers are okay though some have lost their homes; my adopted daughter’s birth family and orphanage also survived. We are so grateful for our personal good fortune. We all know that many others haven’t been that lucky, including those in the villages I’ve worked in.
Working in Nepal has changed me. It’s not possible for me anymore to take for granted that I can get clean water just by turning on a faucet, or can turn on the lights anytime I want to, or can see a doctor or call an ambulance (expensive though it may be) if I’m really sick, and live in a country that has a working constitution, judicial process and general law and order, flawed though it may be. The people of Nepal have lived without these things all their lives, and now have lost the little they have – a pot to boil water for rice, a pillow for your head, a treasured stub of pencil, a sheet metal roof or hoe to grow their food. I am heartbroken for them and deeply anxious about their situation for the upcoming planting season.
When I’m at Foundation CrossFit, secretly thinking of slowing down my pace or taking it easy, someone always yells out my name and inspires me to keep at it, keep going, get it done. I think of the Nepalis, whose culture is like that, and I know they will help each other and share what little they have with their neighbors. Any government help will be funneled to those who have political or social connections; the average Nepali already knows that they must rely on themselves and each other. They will do it – last spring I watched a community of 600 people (mostly women, because the young men leave to earn money doing hard labor overseas) carry 100 lbs bags of cement, rocks, water and heavy pipe up and down a mountain for 3 months to build a water system for themselves. It was the ultimate demonstration of community.
I encourage all of us to remember that, above all, community is the powerful force that keeps human beings alive and moving forward. Whether you say hello to someone you don’t know today, or contribute money to an aid organization, or just give that bad driver on the road a pass for doing something stupid, we all can contribute to helping each other. Be grateful that the water comes out of your faucet, ready to drink, at your command. I feel fortunate to go to CrossFit today and see community at work, and I look forward to that privilege.
- Laura W
If you want to contribute to earthquake relief but aren’t sure which organization is good, I recommend Namlo Nepal. They are a small, well established organization in Kathmandu who survived the earthquake and have already reached some marginalized communities in Sindhupalchowk, whom they have worked with for 10 years. Your donation will go 100% toward cookware, tents, rice and farming tools in communities that the large organizations and government will not serve. I am happy to answer any questions about Namlo and their work.