One Rupee

Jennifer Middendorf talks about why she's donating to the Red Cross Nepal Earthquake Appeal:

Like so many New Zealanders before me, my ‘Big OE’ included a visit to Nepal; Kathmandu the last stop on an overland trek across the Middle East and Indian subcontinent back in 1996.  I have fond memories of that beautiful, bustling, ancient city, crowded with temples and tourists.

The possibility of earthquakes never occurred to me, even though I knew the Himalayas were formed by exactly the same continent-crushing process that created our Southern Alps (and Alpine Fault).  A city with that much history seemed so stable, so timeless – it would stand forever.  But of course, looking back at my photographs now through a Cantabrian’s eyes, I see the unreinforced masonry, the multi-story homes built without regard to seismic standards, a country without the resources to deal with a disaster of this scale.

As a tourist in Kathmandu, I spent a lot of time saying no.  No to the children begging for “One rupee”, no to the rickshaw drivers touting for business, no to the sellers of trinkets and tiger balm.  It was common traveller wisdom that you had to say no, or you’d be swamped.  There was even a popular t-shirt which read, “No rickshaw, no tiger balm, no one rupee, no problem!” 

But today I’m not saying no to Nepal.  Today, along with the rest of the CEISMIC team, I’m giving my one rupee (plus a little more) to the Red Cross and asking them to do what they can to help in Nepal.  We in Christchurch know how much we needed the help of aid organisations in the days following the earthquake. And we’re in a country that's well resourced, and well prepared for natural disaster.  Imagine how much more the people of Nepal need help.

With an estimated 6.6 million people affected, there is an urgent need for food, water, medicine and shelter.  Hospitals are struggling to cope with the huge influx of injured people, there is no electricity and communication lines are down. And many many people have lost their homes.

So please, if you can, join the CEISMIC team in donating to one of the aid agencies working to help the people of Nepal.  When they ask for one rupee, don’t say no.

Red Cross Nepal Earthquake Appeal

UNICEF Nepal Earthquake Appeal

Child Fund Nepal Earthquake Appeal


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Photographs by Jennifer Middendorf, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 New Zealand License.