Sleeping in a makeshift tent at night with the cold wind and rain beating down was an ordeal for Singaporean Caroline Shrestha and her Nepali husband in Lalitpur, Kathmandu after the April 25 earthquake.
Mrs Shrestha, 35, hardly slept.
She told The New Paper over e-mail and WhatsApp messages from Nepal, where the couple now live: "Through that experience, my husband and I felt the helplessness and plight of those who are stuck elsewhere with no food, no shelter and have lost everything."
Those few hours compelled the couple to dip into their personal savings and begin their own relief effort.
So far, they have spent US$13,000 ($17,285) - of which US$5,000 came from their own pockets - feeding hungry locals in four villages that were wrecked by the quake. The rest of the funds came from family, friends and crowd funding.
The couple would order staples such as rice, daal, salt and oil from wholesale dealers outside Kathmandu and hire trucks to transport them to the villages.
She added: "The supplies will last them for about 20 days."
Mrs Shrestha met her husband, Mr Wilson Shrestha, in 2010 while in Nepal for a mission trip.
She moved there soon after the pair got married two years later. She teaches biology and environmental science in Ullens School, the equivalent of a junior college.
Her husband runs a travel agency.
After the earthquake, Mrs Shrestha visited hospitals across Kathmandu to assess the shortage of medical supplies, serving as the eyes and ears for Humanity Assist, a community work training agency (see report above).
Describing the scene at B & B Hospital at Lalitpur, she said: "Twelve out of the 13 operating theatres were having surgery concurrently and they had already performed 167 (operations) that week, with many more on their waiting list.
"We saw some locals who (had) carried injured people on their backs and walked up the hill to the main road for three to four hours before they were brought by overcrowded buses to the hospital."
Mrs Shrestha was nearly a casualty of the earthquake herself, as she was trapped in a church when the quake struck.
She told TNP: "I was stuck inside as there was a lady carrying an infant sitting near the door and she was unable to stand up or get out. "
Mrs Shrestha, who does not have children, managed to escape unscathed during a lull between tremors.
She is trying to regain some normalcy by doing housework around her home, which is still intact. She is also helping to link up those in need with Singaporeans who wish to help.
This article was first published on May 11, 2015.
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