'I'm fine... but the school is gone'
A Baptist minister speaks of relief after hearing from her husband in Nepal... and sadness at the devastation of the village where he was living
The Revd Marg Hardcastle, minister of Stoke Baptist Church and Urban Expression mission partner in Stoke-on-Trent, had an agonising three day wait before she received news that husband Corin was okay following Saturday’s earthquake.
Corin (front right, sitting) with students
Corin has been in the country for nearly four months as a volunteer introducing IT into schools and is living in a mountainside village called Melamchi, around 50 miles to the north east of Kathmandu.
Due to its remoteness and a disruption of communications he was only able to get a voicemail message to Marg on Monday afternoon.
Prior to hearing from him she had seen aerial photos of how the quake had destroyed all the buildings there.
‘Seeing images of the village where he lives, completely flattened - it was a very difficult three days,’ she said. ‘I was so relieved to hear from him. He just said he was well, but the school is gone.
‘The area he is in isn't in the news - but the whole region has been devastated and is currently only accessible by helicopter.
‘It is deeply upsetting, as the people are 8,000 feet up a mountainside now living under tents.’
Although due to return to the UK next Friday, Marg believes Corin will stay on a little longer to help the relief effort.
This was his third visit to Nepal after setting up the charity Yolmo Connect following his retirement as an IT teacher. The purpose of this latest visit was to continue helping the Melamchi school integrate IT into school life – a process which had been flourishing, said Marg.
‘He had visited several new schools, sharing software and training teachers. I imagine that each of those schools and villages is facing the same situation as in Melamchi.
‘Last week they didn’t have a computer classroom, but this week they don’t even have a school. We’ll continue to support Corin’s work through the charity, though right now his physical input will have changed direction.’
She also mentioned how the trekking lodge which provided much needed income to the village had been destroyed. Anyone wishing to help the rebuilding is invited to support the charity The Nepalese Children’s Trust, which works directly with the village.
To see photos of the destruction in Melamchi visit the Yolmo Connect Facebook page