Update May 6, 2015

Interview with Tempa Lama, chairman of BPD Monastery, Kathmandu on May, 5th 2015 by Konny Röhrig

I send some question to Tempa Lama concerning the current situation at Benchen monastery. He kindly send these answers (Q = question, A = answer):

Q: Have the aftershocks stopped by now? Have the monks and monastery community moved back to the Gompa?

A: Up to now the earthquake still continues from time to time, but only short single peaks or small shakes. It has not stopped yet. The monks are still sleeping outside on the army camp. Some of them sleeping under the staircase, some sleeping near the gate or elsewhere. But most of the monks are out in the villages to help, to bring food, clothes, tents, money or help digging.

Q: How is the health situation? Are there monks suffering from any diseases?

A: Health wise some people have heavy diarrhoea but the rest don’t has problems. Everyone is wearing masks because there were announcements that lots of sickness can appear.  But for the Benchen monks the situation is not too bad.
However, people are traumatised, everybody waiting for the next shake, feeling insecure and they are ready to run. And that is quite similar to all the monks and our friends. Especially at night time all are sleeping very light, that means they are awake most of the time. They try to sleep at daytime but then they have to work, to go out and help.

Q: How about the little monks?

Update May 1, 2015

These pictures show the distribution of food by the monks. The monks of Benchen monastery in Kathmandu distribute foodstuffs such as rice. The monks from the Shedra in Pharping distribute cooked meals.

On these pictures you can see Lama Akela and other Benchen monks from Pharping on their daily tours, distributing water with the Benchen water truck at various places. The truck has gone to places such as Dachinkali, Kalimati, Teku, Boudha, Pachdara and others.

These pictures show groups of Benchen monks who go out every day to help searching and digging for buried people at many sites of collapsed buildings all over the city.

Dr. Tsering of the Benchen Free Clinic now is supported in his work from some monks.  Every day they go to different places supplying medical aid where needed. They went to places such as Sanku, Dabcha near Namobuddha, Kokhana and more places, dressing wounds, giving out painkillers, antibiotics, medicine for diarrhea, and so forth - whatever is required. So far the stock of medicine has not run out but it is difficult to obtain more.

Tempa and Florian-Tashi

Update April 29, 2015

On the 28th April the Benchen water truck went to Dachinkali, Kalimati, Teku, Boudha, and Pachdara in order to aid the shortage of water there. The monks went to various places in coordination with the Buddhist Committee.Dr. Tsering along with a group of monks went to Sanku to aid the very bad conditions there.

Today on the 29th the water truck went to other places, many groups of monks were offering their help where needed and Dr. Tsering again went to Sanku. The monastery has difficulties obtaining new food-stock for the monks, which is slowly is running out. However, we can manage to offer tea to the people in the military camp nearby every morning and afternoon. There are some pictures of the monks brining a huge pot of tea to the camp which is filled in smaller pots and distributed among the people.

Namaste, Tempa and Florian-Tashi

Update: April 28, 2015

The Benchen monks have tried to help at various sites where buildings have collapsed but were told they could not be of help. In order to better coordinate the efforts to help there has been a meeting with the president of the Buddhist Committee in Tinchuli. Due to blocked roads the monks cannot get out of the city. Therefore, they will concentrate on helping within. It seems that food is not the most immediate problem in the city, the biggest problem is the lack of water. The monks are using the Benchen water truck from the Shedra in Parphing to help easing the overall water situation.
There have been reports of a flu in the military camp. Face mask in stock of the Benchen Clinic have been distributed in order to minimize the risk of infection to the monks and neighbors but it is difficult to obtain more. Due to risk of infection all the little monks have been brought to Parphing. Some monks went further away to Sanku with medical aid.

On the pictures you can see the monks on bikes on their way to Sanku, the last truck of the little monks on their way to Parphing, Tashi Özer and Sherab together with one of the many groups of monks on their way to Tinchuli.

Namaste, Tempa and Florian-Tashi