Part of our four-part blog series Piles of Bricks’ Priests: The Hindu, the Anglican, and the Ex-Shaman in which we talk about the film through the eyes of the priests in the film in their non-clerical roles - as survivors of the 2015 Nepal Earthquake.
By Steve Richards
I thought long and hard about intruding upon your Easter, but I am hopeful we can add a bit of Easter spirit to what is a deep feeling of loss today for so many of us. An Easter without fellowship is unmooring. So, with all this misery (which I imagine is much closer to what the disciples felt that first Easter morning) let us see if we can brighten the load a little.
Meet Pastor Amosh Shahi, an Anglican pastor in Lalitpur, Kathmandu, Nepal.
We first met Amosh through Rev. Shyam Nepali and son Amit just six months after the quakes. We brought him to our watchers in two of the original Piles of Bricks mini-documentaries, one of which is especially poignant this morning: Sunday School on Saturdays. This is a 10-minute condensation of a three-hour (typical for Nepali Christians) service we shot in October 2015 in the same church they were gathered in that fateful Saturday in April. When the quakes hit – they were thankfully all together in their church. Saturday is the day of services in Nepal and many, including the pastors, knew their homes were trashed and would not be sleeping in their own beds that night.
Nepal is a poor country economically speaking when compared to its neighbors to the north and south, China and India respectively, not to mention the west. Nepal’s per capita GDP is just over $1,000 annually, as compared to the USA’s at just over $62,000 according to World Bank statistics.
Amosh is an example of what many Nepalis did when disaster struck. His is a story of hope and family, and what brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, do when the chips are down. When your home is literally a pile of bricks, you have little savings, the economy is ruined, there’s no insurance money, no unemployment checks, no loans possible; in fact, your government has precious little money to begin with.
What Amosh and his family show is that you can apparently pool your resources with family and build a new, stronger, bigger house where you can all live together. When there is little safety net, you go back to basics.
We interview Amosh several times over four plus years. First when he was frantic trying to figure out next moves for him and his family. We next meet Amosh a year later, on the rooftop of a new home his family has begun building in the Kathmandu suburbs. His mother had bought a piece of land many years earlier and now they were building on it. Things were looking much better.
Finally, we interviewed Amosh in January of this year and things are most definitely on the right track. The house is growing both in terms of the physical structure as well as the number of folks living in it.
Little blessings keep coming.
We are looking forward to introducing Amosh and his inspiring story in our upcoming Piles of Bricks (Revisited) being streamed for the first time on Saturday, April 25th from Lalitpur at 6 PM, and again that evening at 8 PM NYC time.
Click here for the previous instalment in this four part series: Piles of Bricks' Priests - The Hindu
Click here for the next Piles of Bricks' Priests - The Ex-Shaman