The Home that Disappeared into Dust

The Home that Disappeared into Dust

by Sam, Tevel Community Program

Puna Tamang watched his friends throw rocks at what was left of his old house, a skeleton of timbers bleeding mud back onto the village’s main road. He picked one up himself and threw it. The house has existed for 50 years- he grew up in it- but the earthquake has turned it from a home into a hazard. The onlookers cheered, jeered and offered unsolicited advice on where to aim- Puna’s brick flew wide. Every few tries, a few more feet of wall would crumble into dust, a fog that passed though the community before drifting away. Puna’s father, mother, grandmother and little brother were dispersed in the crowd, quietly watching.

His mother wrapped her head, nose and mouth in a shawl, and handed the boys masks to keep them from breathing in the dust. She asked them to pause, and walked through the street, picking from the ruins things she may need- a plastic bottle, two strong woven plastic bags. When the daily aftershock came, she looked shaken to pieces, holding the hands of Inbar and Reut, Tevel b’Tzedek staff and volunteer, respectively.I wonder how she felt watching Puna finish what the earthquake started.

Tomorrow the Tevel b’Tzedek team will help clear the road and dispose of the remains. Hopefully we can help the Tamang family, and the community at large, start to move on.

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