Earthquake in Nepal

Direct support after the earthquake in the regions around Gorkha and Charikot

Tue, June 23,.2015 - 3:55pm, posted by Frank

Invitation to talks in Tauberbischofsheim and Bamberg on the disaster relief operation in Nepal

Dear friends,

We would like to cordially invite you to talks and presentations on the journey to the earthquake area in the Himalayas!

The first talk will already take place on June 29 in Tauberbischofsheim where Jürgen will report at 7:00pm in the Catholic community center.

On July 11, there is another opportunity in Bamberg to meet us "live" and relive with pictures and videos the impressions of this emergency rescue operation. Beginning is at 7:00pm, admission in the „Spiegelsaal“ and the bazaar for the benefit of FriendCircle WorldHelp already at 5:30pm.

We look forward to many visitors and the opportunity to get to know and talk to each other!

Alexandra, Jürgen, Michael, Florian, Katrin, Frank and friends


Tour reports day 14 and following days – final report

Fri, May 22, 2015 – day 14

Ramavarai, our Indian friend, picks up Michael and Katrin at the Patna airport. The medicines which Florian and Alexandra could not find in Birgunj can now be bought in different shops in Patna. Patna, the capital of Bihar is a relatively large city and has a broader variety of shops. A stretcher for wounded persons, a vapor sterilizer etc… the shopping takes a lot of time, therefore they spontaneously stay overnight under open sky on the flat roof of the house of a friend of Ramavarai. The night is a bit cool and the stars seem to be unusually near….

Sat, May 23, 2015 – day 15

In the morning first thing is to change a tire as the bad Indian roads now and then ask for a tribute. Soon Katrin and Michael reach Raxaul, where they can take a shower and a meal after more than two days of travelling. Then more errands have to be made: Change Indian rupees into local currency, prepare customs formalities to pass the medicine equipment over the border, etc. Then they meet the two Indian nurses who will accompany them to assist Michael in the medical camp.

Then they continue towards the Indian-Nepalese border. Night is falling as they reach the Nepalese “Immigration Office” to get their entrance visa. Normally, it is granted without any problems, however the officials insist on payment in US dollars, which Katrin and Michael cannot provide. It takes some time until they accept the payment in rupees. As very often the situation seems to be very complicated and takes a lot of time, but then all of a sudden all problems vanish quickly. Meanwhile, it is too late to get the customs clearance for the entire luggage necessary for the medical camp. So Michael and Katrin take a bicycle rickshaw to the hotel in Birgunj (right behind the border) to meet Florian and Alexandra, while the jeep and the mini truck wait at the border for the next day. The meeting is cheerful and they exchange the happenings of the past days before taking a shower Indian style with bucket and cup.

The rooms are hot. Since both big quakes there is hardly any electric current in Nepal and also in India near the border - at best some hours during the day. Therefore air condition is not functioning in the hotels. However in view of our experiences of the last weeks we are already happy that there are no man high, broad fractures in the wall showing how fragile the building is. Mosquitoes are buzzing round in swarms, but we fall asleep dead tired.

Sun, May 24, 2015 – day 16

In the morning of May 24 we travel by a small horse cart to the Nepalese customs office to get the medical freight across the border. We hope that it will not take too long this time as we do not want to lose time, to be able to continue towards the mountains, i.e. our destination Sunkhani the same day. Unfortunately, we again have to stay there some hours waiting in longer or shorter queues in front of several offices. Papers are shown, copied, signed, stamped, the dates written in books and in the end filed on heaps of paper….

Finally, everything is done and the travel towards Kathmandu can begin. For 250 km we drive over bumpy roads through the night. It should take approximately 13 hours. As the drivers, due to the strenuous drive, get very tired at night, we spontaneously take a break. In front of a small restaurant, right next to the road, we unpack camping mats and sleeping bags, while a part of the team rests in the car. Here Michael and Katrin witness a slight aftershock. In the middle of the night they wake up by a violent jolt of the earth.
According to Nepalese newspapers and news since the first big quake, there were, in various parts of Nepal, about 300 small aftershocks and a second major quake about two weeks ago when team 1 was in Motihari, to exchange currency.

Mon, May 25, 2015 - day 17
At about 5:00 a.m. we continue our drive and a few hours later reach Kathmandu, the capital city, which we pass through quickly. To our surprise, the destruction here is not as great as we had expected in comparison to other previously seen areas in the Nepalese mountain villages. In the next city Dulikhel we stop to have a small breakfast which consists as usual of rice, dal and vegetables. In Dulikhel we meet again Venu and Mingmar, a Nepalese mountain guide who will accompany us. Mingmar has been recommended to us by Stephan, our motor cycle friend who lives in Nepal, because he is well versed in the areas where we want to work.
From Mingmar we learn that Sunkhani had been hit very hard by the second earthquake on May 12. Two of his mountain guide friends were hit and buried by avalanches in the area of Langtang. He told us that the families of those affected still firmly believe firmly that their family members will eventually come back home...

In Sunkhani, so Mingmar reports, no help has arrived until now. The mountain villages up there are very difficult to reach due to the road conditions.
The closer we come towards Charikot, the reference center of Sunkhani with its surrounding villages, the more destroyed houses we see along the road. Many are completely destroyed and crumbled into heaps. From some still parts exist. Mingmar reports that this area has remained completely spared from the first quake, however was almost totally destroyed during the earthquake of May 12. About 200 people were killed in the last earthquake here.
A colorful, lovingly designed house is standing in a striking imbalance, with a distance of about 50 cm to another house, which is so far not affected. When we later at our return trip pass by the same house, it has meanwhile cracked into the house, which had been spared so far and thus also destroyed the house next to it.

Everywhere there are orange-blue tarpaulins, as makeshift replacement of the destroyed dwellings. Though some houses have not broken down, people do not dare to enter. On the one hand for fear of further earthquakes, on the other hand because most of the houses are in danger of collapsing.
Again and again we are stopped by military controls and have to explain what we plan to do.
On the way to Charikot we pass through a landscape that looks like a boulder field. By the quake huge stones have dissolved in the mountains and rolled down as a landslide into the valley. Among others, a river was dammed and flooded nearby houses. Accidentally we take a detour into the landscape of large boulders.

An about 11 year old girl appears in front of us, who - due to its worn clothes – first appears to us like an old woman. When she does not respond to our calling, Alexandra starts running after her. In her hand she cautiously holds a bag with an old orange while drinking dirty river water. The girl does not want to come with us, but since we do not have the heart to leave her alone in the wilderness, Michael picks her up and carries her to the car. "Ronja", as we call the girl, will accompany us from now on. Wherever we go and ask, nobody knows Ronja and she herself also does not tell us her real name. Timidly she sits in the car between Katrin and Alexandra. She seems to be traumatized, perhaps mentally retarded in a way ...
When we reach Charikot, it is already dark, since in the mountains on unpaved roads even short distances due to the serpentines take long.

It is already dark as we buy jackets and sweaters for our 9-headed team, because further up we expect, at least at night, falling temperatures. Ronja gets new clothes as well. As so often also today there was nothing to eat since breakfast and all are hungry. Fortunately, a small restaurant is still open opposite the clothes shop. Mingmar asks for food, but the answer is that we could get only 6 plates of already cooked  food, but this will not be enough for all.
Today is May 25th and the Nepalese population believes that on this day, exactly one month after the first earthquake on April 25, another heavy quake will occur. It so happened with many other disasters ...
Alexandra persuades the small family by calming them and explaining that nothing will happen if they prepared meals for the team. After a few minutes, they agree, still being scared. We invite additionally a number of destitute people timidly standing around who also seem not to have eaten anything to have dinner with us. They are very happy and enjoy refreshing themselves from piled plates. Our little Ronja, the girl whom we "picked up" in the scree, eats about four large plates full of rice, vegetables and lentils. She probably has not eaten properly for some time. As the owners at the end get a very good tip because of their friendliness and their confidence and the mother is very happy about it, the young son of the family, Rajkumar spontaneously decides to join us on the journey and support our work. Rajkumar is familiar with the area and therefore a help to our team.

The last stage of the route should now take about another two hours, bend after bend, on gravel roads, through the darkness. As we reach Sunkhani, in the middle of the night, we are surprised by a sudden thunderstorm and heavy rain. After about an hour the rain gets less and Michael and Florian quickly build up a few tents in pitch darkness with light from our mobiles. As we will find out the next day, there has been no electricity for two weeks, even for the military stationed here. People could not even inform their relatives about whether they are doing well or not. To get to the next mobile charging point, would mean to walk approximately 25 kilometers and the charging would cost 50 Nepalese rupees. This is too expensive for these people who have already lost most of what they had...

Tue, May 26, 2015 - day 18

Immediately after getting up next morning Michael begins with a few helpers to set up a makeshift doctor's office. Existing bamboo rods are used, covered with a plastic tarp and corrugated iron roofs are leaned against the walls for privacy reasons and as a shadow device. From a ruined house Michael pulls an old wooden shelf. Then they can start: Infusion needles, disinfectants, special dressings, medicines, etc. are unpacked ... None of the helpers must ask the people too often. Soon the first patients line up in long queues in front of the "clinic". The queue is increasing, as the news of a doctor being available here spreads like a wildfire. The problems are complex and different, because people are not only coming for problems due to the earthquake, but also because most of them were not able to afford medical treatment even before the disaster.

A baby is brought by its parents carrying it in a basket three hours over the mountains to the camp because the baby is very weak suffering of constant vomiting and diarrhea simultaneously. Several patients come with infectious diseases.
While cleaning up the rubble some men have impaled thick wooden splinters into hands and feet, sometimes even thick rusty nails that can cause blood poisoning and can even lead to amputation. After several hours, Michael has built an additional ‘receiving station" for patients. There the data of the patient are recorded and the blood pressure is measured. In addition, a medical tent, which the military station is kindly making available to us, is transformed into an operation room under the direction of Michael.
Florian is looking for the technology, taking care of the construction of the equipment, e.g. oxygen cylinders etc. and is also continuously filming scenes of the camp, while Katrin is writing reports and ensuring the supply of water and Chai. Especially now when all must be tired from the rigors of the tour, Chai is sustaining us. There is no more bottled mineral water since some time. Katrin fortunately found a spring that, according to Nepalese people, provides potable water.
Our generator which we brought with us proves to be a blessing in many ways. While it is essential for the medical camp, during the day also large groups of people gather around the attached multiple sockets to recharge their mobile phones and small light bulbs for their houses.
Huge is the joy when people find out that we will leave the generator in Sunkhani and will also buy three solar charging stations for other places in the area.
In addition, FriendCircle Worldhelp bought 3 kg of nails in three sizes, including a hammer, pliers and a saw, one set each for 1650 families. With the pliers, the nails of old boards can be bent and then reused with the new nails and the hammer to build new huts...

Wed, May 27, 2015 - day 19 and subsequent days

A "treatment marathon" starts. The queue of patients does not end. Michael and the medical assistants started at 6:00 a.m. and are working until late night. In addition to surgery and wound care all kinds of ailments are treated by Michael and the medical team, to the brink of exhaustion. People are so happy and wait for hours until it is their turn, with a small piece of paper in their hands, which they got at the “reception”. Everybody is helping. Even the men of the military post help as best they can and give support wherever they can - for example with the sterilization of surgical instruments, by cooking the surgical instruments in the sterilization pot. Florian stands next to Michael for hours, helping with everything needed.
After a minimum of sleep the medical camp is also operating on the departure day until the last minute. Very early in the morning someone knocks on the tent of Florian and Michael and asks if they want Chai. "Yes," they say and when they look out of the tent, the first patient is already waiting ...
No time to think of breakfast or a "morning toilet".
Although the queue of people does not seem to end at lunchtime of our last day, it's like a miracle that by about 4.30 p.m. even the last patient has been treated ...
We are running late and the return journey begins with a drive against the clock. The domestic flight from Patna to Delhi will be already the day after tomorrow and ahead lies still a long drive through the mountains and the re-entry to India: about 35 hours in the car and in total approximately 43 hours, with short breaks for food, but no "sleeping in bed" are waiting for us ...
Although we asked everywhere we went, for Ronja’s origin, it was not possible to find out any details about the origin of the shy girl. Often people said that Ronja does not look Nepalese but Indian. Fortunately, Ramavarai, our Indian friend, could find a children's home on the Indo-Nepalese border, on the Indian side. Together with seven other girls Ronja found a new home there. On her next trip in August, Katrin will visit Ronja ...

Days later:

We arrived healthy and well again in Germany. The impressions of this journey with its many experiences will reverberate within us for a long time.
We want to say THANK YOU to all friends for all your support, for your encouraging comments on the website, via email, on Facebook and for your donations. Without you and your great help this work would not be possible.
On this trip we had often suffered mortal fear (which seems to be innate in the human instinct itself ;-)
By your support we felt very much encouraged!! Thank you.


Mon, June 8, 2015 - 10:15 a.m., posted by Frank

New video on YouTube - Final report of Nepal follows

  • The final report of the 2nd part of the trip to Nepal will follow shortly.
  • Since yesterday, a new video is online on our YouTube channel. It covers the 1st part of the trip of last November in the Himalayas, India. It gives you an impression of the road conditions in the mountains in this part of the world ...

Link to all videos: click on the YouTube icon or here


Mon, June 1st, 2015 - 8:35 p.m., posted by Frank

Photos online – report will follow

  • The photos of the 2nd part of the trip are now all online.
  • Among others, many photos from the medical camp.
  • A detailed final report will follow.
  • On the main photo of the article you can find a small camera icon. If you click on this, you can see a gallery of preview photos. This gives you an overview and you can switch between photos. Thanks to Christian for the technical implementation!


Sun, May 31st, 2015 - 10:55 p.m., posted by Frank

Returned home safely - tomorrow many further photos will be online

  • Katrin, Michael, Florian and Alexandra have safely returned home
  • Greetings to all!
  • Tomorrow you will find on our homepage many impressive photos from the 2nd part of the journey (the author, Frank, has just seen a short preview...)


Sun, May 31st, 2015 - 7:45 a.m., posted by  Frank

Return flight to Germany - report on the medical camp will follow

  • Yesterday afternoon, the team safely arrived in Delhi by domestic flight from Patna
  • The return trip to Patna was very tiring, it was a 30-hour drive by car.
  • The team arrived late Friday, and after 48 h it could finally go to sleep in a bed.
  • Today, they will fly from Delhi to Nuremberg with a stopover in Istanbul.
  • A report on the medical camp will follow here.


Fri 27/05/2015 - 7:45 a.m., posted by Frank

Heading back - on the way to Birgunj

Tel. conversation between Frank and Alexandra at 7:30 a.m.:

  • Medical camp was a great success
  • Many patients successfully treated
  • Many injuries following search of construction materials in the rubble, e.g. stepping on rusty nails
  • Treatment almost around the clock
  • Return started in order to reach flight from Patna
  • Due to the long distance ride through the night drivers changing shifts
  • All are doing well


Wed, May 27, 2015 - 7:55 a.m., posted by Frank

200 patients on the first day in the medical camp

Tel. conversation between Frank and Alexandra at 7:40 a.m.:

  • Large devastation in this region after the 2nd quake
  • People searching in the ruins for boards and nails to build new houses
  • First day of the medical camp was very successful
  • More than 200 patients treated
  • Also this morning surgery is done in the „medical office under tarpaulins"
  • The power generator is a major attraction  - there has been no electricity grid since the 2nd quake
  • People take the opportunity to recharge their cell phones and contact their relatives and friends


Mon, May 25, 2015 - 10:45 a.m., posted by Frank

On the way to Sunkhani – medical camp

Tel. conversation between Frank and Alexandra at 10:30 a.m.:
After Katrin and Michael have well arrived in Nepal the team, accompanied by Mingmar, is now heading to the mountains.
There had just been another telephone contact, but this might become difficult in the next two days.
They will be driving from Birgunj on the border with Nepal to Charikot and then on to Sunkhani, a small town with about 2,500 inhabitants.
In this region many people have died in the quake. Here it is planned to set up the medical camp.
Mingmar knows the area very well and also speaks German, which are the best prerequisites for the further organization.
So far, the weather is good, the temperatures like in a permanent sauna. Since quite some days, sleeping through the night is not possible either because of the mosquitoes or because driving by car.

Warm regards to all at home from
Katrin, Michael, Florian, Alexandra


Sat 05/23/2015 - 7:45 a.m., posted by Frank

Travel report 10 and report of the following days

Mon, May 19, 2015 (day 10)

While people in Birgunj repeatedly tell us of smaller quakes throughout Nepal, we currently remain spared. Early in the morning of 19.5. we have to pay another visit to the office of the government officials. Our trucks are almost empty and the bags are distributed so that not much can be asked from us. However, we are surprised and happy about a loving letter pushed in our hands, which is written to the office in charge by the seconded government official lady who accompanied our distribution campaign.
This letter says: Subject: Thank-you letter. "We are very thankful to Friendcircle Worldhelp and specially your team. Again we whole heartedly thankful for serving and helping the Nepalese people who are suffering from earthquake which was dangerously happened in Nepal in the date of 25th-April-2015. May God give further more inspiration and strength to help and serve victimized people from natural disasters and accidents in the future." (Photo of the letter in the gallery)
On this day, which is also the day of our departure for Birgunj, on the Indo-Nepalese border, we do some shopping of clothing for the children who did not leave our side during the distribution action and helped us as best as they could with small services and translation. The joy of children receiving shoes, pants and shirts or dresses for the girls is huge. As we finally say goodbye in the afternoon, they start to cry. We are also stirred very much by the farewell. The children say: "Nobody has ever loved us so much."
With a bit of a heavy heart, but the time in the neck, because already tomorrow Jürgen’s flight will leave from Patna to Delhi, we drive off towards Narangath.

Narein, our friend from the first village will be with us, because we have decided to buy  corrugated iron roofs for the village (91 families). Since we learnt from Stephan, our German motorcycle friend, how much the bundle of roofs (a dozen) should cost, which is needed for one house, we negotiate hard and due to the good tip save whopping € 332. We pay the roofs and discuss with Narein several things that are necessary for the implementation of the distribution of the roofs. Narein will send us photos of the houses in a few months and Venu will check the finished houses after some time.
Late in the evening we arrive at a very simple accommodation. We examine, as usual, the foundations of the House to form an opinion as to whether they can withstand an earthquake. While in previous trips criteria such as cleanliness or air conditioning against the intense heat played a role now the fabric and structure of the building is our only consideration.
Tired, we fall on the hard benches...

Tue, May 20 to Fri, May 22, 2015
As we arrive at lunchtime at a hotel in Birgunj on the Indian border, Jürgen takes a shower in one of our rooms. We say goodbye to all the staff of the team No.1: the taxi driver, the truck driver, Sanju, our great cook ... and of course with a heavy heart to Jürgen, who now starts via Patna, Delhi and Istanbul the 2-day journey home. Florian says to Jürgen: "You should leave now, so you don’t miss your flight. Who knows, you could even have a flat tire on the road." In fact, the taxi in which Jürgen and Venu went to Patna, had a flat tire in the night which luckily could be resolved quickly.
After the departure of Jürgen, Florian and Alexandra are left behind. Actually they both wanted to take some rest after the rigors of travel. However that was not granted to us ... ;-)

While some preparations are to be done and purchases must be completed for the upcoming medical camp, we also take care of hiring a mini-truck that will take us towards Mount Everest - for the transport of the medical equipment. Our goal is Charikot, a town east of Kathmandu, which they say was razed to the ground by the 2nd earthquake that had a magnitude of 7.9 equal to the first one. It is the same situation as with the hiring of our trucks for the 1st convoy. No truck company is willing to take the ride up there fearing further quakes. If one of them agrees to do it, the truck drivers are not willing, or cancel the trip on short notice. It is remaining exciting.
Florian and Alexandra are pushing through the streets of Birgunj and try to get everything Michael will need to carry out the medical camp. The temperature feels like the heat of 45 degrees. In the night we have to fight with lots of mosquitoes and it's hard to sleep 2 hours at a stretch without being woken up by the tormentors.
We immediately realize that it will be difficult here to get all the drugs and medical accessories. Therefore Michael, together with Katrin, unfortunately will have to get many things themselves the day they arrive in the much larger city of Patna. For 2 reasons, we cannot help Michael with this: While the preparation for the journey of team No. 1 itself took a very long time and we therefore could not previously take care for medicine, Florian is now having a visa with which he cannot unlimitedly often enter across the border to India, i.e. we are tied to the city Birgunj. Fortunately, we are able, in addition to many standard medicines, to get the bulky oxygen cylinder and three large metal boxes for the storage of the materials. At the Indian and the Nepalese customs ALL medicines and technical equipment must be listed and approved. This may cost Michael and Katrin a lot of time when crossing the border. Let's hope that they can pass through well. We want to lose no time.

Fri, May 22, 2015 – 4:10 p.m., posted by Frank

Many new photos in the gallery

  • Note for viewing the photos:
    Unfortunately there is still a bug in the photo gallery. When you browse the photos, the most recent 20 photos will always be shown first, which is by design. However, they are shown twice before the other photos are displayed. This FYI, the bug is known and Christian our webmaster is working on it...

•        A total of 190 photos are now online

Fri, May 22, 2015 – 9:20 a.m., posted by Frank

Trip reports 8 and 9 online

  • Yesterday evening Jürgen safely reached home
  • Katrin and Michael underway from Delhi to Patna
  • New trip reports online
  • Unfortunately, there is still a bug in the photo gallery. When you browse the photos, the most recent 20 photos will always be shown first, which is by design. However, they are shown twice before the other photos are displayed. This FYI, the bug is known and Christian our webmaster is working on it....

Sat, May 16, 2015 (day 8)
We survived the night of Friday to Saturday in the dilapidated hotel with the cracks on all walls quite well. Early in the morning we get started to obtain from the office of the government district of Gorkha the necessary approval for the distribution of our goods. We enter a large courtyard where thousands of bags of rice and other relief supplies are stored. Countless packages with bottles of water are as well piled up on the wall. We approach a desk where a number of men are sitting who tell us that we have to bring our trucks with the rice and flour bags here for further distribution. A lengthy discussion starts between the men on one hand and Venu, Narein (our companion whom we have got to know last night in the village) and the friendly soldier who had shown us yesterday the way to the village on the other hand. It takes about half an hour until we are finally led to another place where we can sit on chairs in the shadow. Another officer comes and tries to explain vociferously to Venu that we have to bring the trucks with the goods here. Venu tells the officer that we have already visited a village last night and would like to hand out the packages ourselves and that we already have lists of the people who so far did not get any support besides some plastic sheeting. The officer cannot be dissuaded that we should bring the goods here. Venu talks to Alexandra to ask what should be done. Alexandra says that we should ask to speak to the manager. In the meantime, Florian and Jürgen talk to representatives of a foreign aid organization who are just unloading packages in the courtyard. The representative of the organization explains: "We are cooperating with the government. We are unloading 10.000 certified packages and will then discuss, where the parcels will be distributed by the government." After further 45 minutes we are led into an office where some men are sitting on a desk. Another discussion, this time more intense, arises. We are told that nobody is allowed to distribute goods brought along since the government organizes the coordination and distribution and that it was also not allowed to the soldier to show us the way to the village without bringing us first here to the government office. As a consequence, our companions could go to jail. Venu asks Alexandra to hand over the goods of the trucks or at least leave part of it to the government for further distribution. Alexandra refuses. About one and a half hours later and after several attempts to have us deliver the approx. 10 tons of food, Alexandra declares that she will not hand out a single bag. As all realize that the discussion is stagnant, a further official of the government is called to clarify the situation. As the friendly man enters the room and the situation is explained to him, he says that he could give permission that we distribute our goods on our own provided a local government representative would be present during distribution and establish a report. We get a handwritten recommendation from the friendly official granting us the permission for distribution. We are happy as we leave the office and promise that we will come back after the distribution and show him photos. After this experience we visit different shops and buy 6 large bales of camping mats as well as mosquito nets for the village that we had visited the night before. Then the journey starts. On the way our vehicles suddenly stop and our employees tell us that we will have to deliver 10 tons of flour at the next military station. Alexandra again points out that nothing will be taken from our truck loading. Then Narein our companion shows the military officials the handwritten letter of recommendation. The officials say that we should first distribute and then deliver the “agreed upon quantity” of which we did not know anything. It is already dawning. In the dim light all help to pitch the tent for the night. Then the distribution of thermal mats and mosquito nets starts. Many, many people have been waiting for us for hours to receive the goods. They are standing in a long line and happily receive the gifts donated by our friends from home. Many profusely thank for the goods that are so precious to them in this difficult situation. We are a bit plagued by mosquitoes, but happy and satisfied we go to sleep late in the night, some in tents others in the open air.

Sun, May 17, 2015 (day 9)
Very early in the morning we wake up as we hear Indian voices. Our companions are already cooking tea with sugar. The morning atmosphere provides a wonderful feeling of oneness with nature and we gladly accept the offer to descend ca. 300 m down the steep hill to the river to bathe in the cool water and wash our clothes. Ramavarai and a few others are in the meantime preparing breakfast. Friendly villagers have already brought us great green leaves from the field which in addition to the usual rice and lentil dish are cooked and make a delicious vegetable meal. All are sitting on a large plastic tarp enjoying the food while Sanju and Prabhu according to ancient Indian tradition take care that everyone has enough on his plate. They will eat only after all have been served. As we finish our meal, already some people from total 9 villages have arrived to receive flour and rice bags today. In the course of the morning more and more people gather under a blazing sun. After dinner, Jürgen, Florian and Alexandra spontaneously decide to go off and buy up the stocks of biscuits, drinks, soaps etc. of some small wooden stalls. The intention is to support the small local shops and at the same time provide the children in this difficult situation a little pleasure. Further away from the main road we discover a small room where a young mother lives with her two small children and a baby. Her husband has leased a small plot of land for farming. Since they cannot live on the small income, the young woman produces small items on her pedaling sewing machine and offers them for sale. In an old chest of drawers right near the front door there are a few bags containing pigtail clips for children and other hair clips. We buy all clips for about 12 Euros. The young woman is overjoyed and the girls in the villages will later enjoy the colorful hair clips…
Back in our camp, Jürgen gets to know Stephan, a German  who has been offering motorcycle tours in Nepal for 8 years. He has his own company. Since the disaster he has been helping personally and giving uncomplicated assistance. He is buying all corrugated iron roofs which he can get hold of and gives them away to the people. In the further course of the conversation he gives us valuable information e.g. how much 12 roofs should cost to cover a house which the people here can easily build themselves using the many trees around. He also thinks that the people affected by the second quake urgently need tents, but these are currently difficult to get. He gives us some addresses that will turn out to be very useful for us over the next few days. We will stay in contact with Stephan…

At last the long-awaited distribution of flour and rice bags starts. While Jürgen and Alexandra stay on a small mountain with video and photo camera, Florian together with other helpers is distributing the heavy bags to the patiently waiting crowd. It makes us happy to see the joy in the faces and to feel that we are in the right place. A very friendly government official lady was assigned to us and she is also pleased with this action. In addition to the bags Florian also gives away the treasures we have purchased in the small shops. The children are delighted...
After all people of 3 villages each with about 100 inhabitants have been supplied with goods we drive by taxi and with the two trucks to another place where countless people have been waiting for hours. About 1000 further families are to be supplied and we are a bit worried whether the bags on the trucks will be sufficient to supply all.

Quiet and with serious faces people are waiting in the square under a big tree as we arrive and we feel that there is uncertainty in the air. Alexandra grabs the bag with the pigtail clips and walks up to a girl. Carefully she wraps one of the colorful ribbons around the black braid of the girl. Everybody is laughing. As more and more girls receive the colorful gifts, the atmosphere is relaxing gradually and then turns into a hearty cooperation where there is no need to understand each other’s language. After our Indian and local helpers have set up the place of issue the distribution starts. People are very disciplined queuing in long lines and again waiting for hours until their names are called and they get a 10 kilo bag of rice and another one of flour. While Florian is photographing the scenery and Jürgen filming, Alexandra again goes to buy little things in the surrounding shops and gives them to the children. The atmosphere is very uplifting and despite the scorching heat all are happy. After about 2 hours Florian and Alexandra discover an old, approximately 90-year-old man and his wife sitting on a patch of grass. Next to them sits another old women who seems to belong to them. All others around them are happily loading their bags on the trailers of their small tractors to bring their treasures to their mountain villages or at least as close as possible. The old man has a broken arm. Sadly he sits and stares. Our young faithful companion, a boy of about 11 years who speaks relatively good English, translates and we learn that the man and his wife are living far away and do not know how to carry the goods home. Without hesitating Florian and Alexandra decide to carry the 40 kilos for these three people to the place where they live. Soon they realize that the way to the house of these people leads constantly steeply uphill and there is no means to reach it by car. After about 2 kilometers our companions signalize us to put down the bags on a crossroad and to follow the limping old man. After about one and a half more kilometers uphill the man shows us a place on the opposite side of the mountain which for sure is another 45 minutes away and where there is a tiny cottage made of stone which has completely collapsed. We finally understand that this is the home of the old couple, which, as we learn later, has no children and consequently no old-age provision. The second woman has given shelter to them in her small house. Back downhill with the women, we give them a sum of money which should allow them to get by at least the next few months. We feel very sorry as we descend the long way back to the place of issue where Jürgen tells us another story. In the meantime he had visited the dilapidated house of a severely disabled man and after we realize that there are enough bags for all persons of the 9 villages Jürgen spontaneously heaves 2 bags on his back and brings them to the disabled man who is overjoyed. Meanwhile, all families have received their rations and happily set off home.
We decide to drive to the nearby town to have a snack and recharge our computers. Our self-made power grid in the camp allows us to charge our mobile phones, but is not enough for the computer. We had repeatedly been asking for power in the villages but since the disaster there is little to no electricity.
We take the three children that never left our side during the whole action and had been translating into English as best they could (Venu and our other Indian staff were too busy with the organization of the distribution) by car to the city. In the car we listen to music, laugh and sing and the children say: “This is the happiest day of our lives.”
A thousand thanks to all our friends at home! It is only by your caring, your sympathy, and your donations of all kind that this action has been made possible. We are very happy and feel supported by you….


Thu, May 21st, 2015, 8:40 a.m., posted by Frank

A day of work and travel

  • Good morning from Florian and Alexandra in Nepal!
  • More photos from Nepal will follow.
  • Florian and Alexandra investigating where Michael could purchase further medical stuff.
  • Jürgen on the plane from Delhi to Istanbul.
  • Michael driving by car from the hospital in Bayreuth to the Nuremberg airport.
  • Katrin in the subway on her way to the same destination.
  • Tanja and Frank about to hold a lecture in the Eichendorff college in Bamberg.
  • Christian and Peter in Vienna completing the homepage.
  • Monika and Christel translating.
  • Later today, Frank will pick up Jürgen as well as Michael’s car at the Nuremberg airport.
  • All are on the move smiley


Wed, May 20, 2015 1:30 p.m., posted by Frank

Many new photos online – day off for Florian, Alexandra and the team – return date for Jürgen

Phone call at half past noon:

  • Alexandra and Florian staying in a hotel close to the border with India
  • It is a day off for them, doing small errands
  • Jürgen has sent a message prior to his departure from Patna to Delhi – everything is ok
  • In the online gallery you will now find photos of the distribution in the villages
  • Michael and Katrin are preparing for tomorrow’s departure
  • Under "Media" you will find the latest press releases
    (Tip: click on the small image, then click right on "Display graphic" – image is loaded; zoom in with magnifying glass...)


Thu, May 20,2015 - 8:30 a.m., posted by Frank

Shortly before the Indian-Nepalese border - Jürgen setting off home, Florian and Alexandra writing reports

Phone call of 8:30 a.m.

Good morning to all!

Just had a phone call with Alexandra; they are nearing the Indian-Nepalese border. Florian and Alexandra will stay there in a hotel, while Jürgen will proceed with Venu to Patna and set off home tomorrow.

Alexandra and Florian are writing the reports of the last few days. During the distribution action, this was not possible, and the nights were very short...

They are also investigating the purchasing opportunities for medical material for Michael. On Thursday, Katrin and Michael will fly from Germany and arrive on Saturday.

Information for all those living around Bamberg: Today a newspaper report on our action will be published in the „Fränkische Tag“ - and I will just go and get me a copy.

Greetings to all from Jürgen, Florian and Alexandra!



Mon, May 18, 2015, posted by Frank

Phone call of 10:00am:

Supplies distributed to >1.000 people - second night in a tent camp

  • Second night in the tent camp went well
  • Took a morning shower in the river
  • Yesterday distributed in the mountain villages to > 1,000 people
  • Report and photos to follow

Trip report 7:
Friday report continued: It is already dark when our new friend, a soldier of the Indian Army, whom we just got to know drives ahead on his motorcycle to show us the way. He leads us into an area about 15 km from Gorkha, the epicenter of the first quake. The road is mostly unsurfaced consisting of dust and stones of different sizes, and we are thoroughly shakened up. Because of the clouds of dust many people are wearing respirators and so do we. After about an hour we arrive on the edge of a mountain shortly before the night is falling. Our Indian soldier asks us whether we want to see some of the houses or rather the whole village. We opt for the whole village. This means a walk of about half an hour on meandering paths, over stones, tree stumps and through cornfields up to the mostly totally destroyed houses. Fortunately, our cell phones can be used as flashlights and show us the way. As we arrive at the top, the inhabitants show us a lot of rubble piles under which  their stocks of rice, clothes and other belongings lie buried. Also many animals were killed during the quake by collapsing bars or large rocks falling on them. Dead animals such as goats and cattle are as well buried under the piles. Many houses have strong cracks or are crooked so that people do not dare entering. Not only in this village, almost everywhere in the area we see people camping under tarpaulins in front of their houses. Many are traumatized, afraid of aftershocks or their houses have become so unstable and in danger of collapsing that it would be too dangerous to enter without precautions even during the day. We are talking a long time with the families, the elderly and the children. An approximately 70-year-old man sadly shows us his broken toilet. Children are playing under the tents with stones and babies are rocked to sleep in towels serving as hammock and fixed between trees. On another occasion, a man tells us: "I am 60 years old and have never experienced something like this. I was very scared, the earth shook and messed up everything and I felt somehow like numb not knowing anymore whether it was me vibrating and shaking or my surrounding. I cannot return to my house, because I am so afraid."

Before we go down the mountain again, we promise the people to come back tomorrow and bring food, floor mats for the tents and mosquito nets. A smile spreads on their faces.
It is already 11:00pm as we drive back to find somewhere an accommodation since it would be difficult to pitch our tents in the dark. While a companion from the village is helping us, Venu can persuade a family to prepare some food for us as we have not eaten anything since the morning. In front of most of the houses here too makeshift shelters have been set up. We really get a room in a house with large cracks on all walls. Somewhat worried we fall asleep. While the boys are sleeping soundly, Alexandra all of a sudden wakes up in the middle of the night by a strong jolt that seizes the house. It is difficult to describe what it feels like in a situation where you do not know whether this is the precursor of a violent quake or not. Many thoughts go through the head – wake up the others, grab passport, money? In case of strong earthquakes even these thoughts would take too long...


Sun, May 17, 2015 - 10:10, posted by Frank

Night went well - distribution running

  • Night went well
  • Cooked together
  • Distribution still running
  • Electricity only with generator
  • Tomorrow returning to Indian border
  • Organizing there the arrival of team 2
  • Jürgen flying back to Germany on Thursday
  • The whole team with Michael and Katrin then returning into the region


Sat, 16.05.2015 - 6:15 p.m., posted by Frank

Today overnight stay in tent camp

Phone call at 6.00 p.m.:

Today Overnight Stay in Tent Camp.

Trip Report 6:

On Friday, 15/05/2015, we start already at 7.00 clock from the hotel in Hetauda and drive towards Gorkha in the foothills of the Himalayas. We stop at the well-known family of our taxi driver and take our breakfast with them. They have recently lost their son, live in poverty. Through our breakfast, which we pay them, of course, (with a good tip), we can give them a little support. While we wait for breakfast, Florian shows the boys on the street with a ball a few tricks and plays football with them. Then the journey continues, along a river valley, higher and higher into the mountains. At another break in a small town, along the road, we get for Jürgen and Florian SIM cards for their smartphones and warm blankets, because here in the mountains it is cool at night.

The further we get up and nearer to the epicenter, the more often we see ruined buildings, stables and tidy heaps of stones and rubble from landslides triggered by the earthquake and had been blocking the road. Many people have built tents from tarps, where they sleep at night with the whole family, either because the buildings are completely or so much damaged that they are afraid, the building would collapse or because they are afraid of another earthquake. At first we take a look into a village, which has been recommended to us. We see the effects of the earthquake and how affected the people are. We meet an older woman with her husband, who have although not their life, but otherwise lost everything what they had. A water buffalo and two goats are buried under the collapsed barn with all the rice and grain inventories and sorrow and despair were left behind. We give money to a trustworthy, older gentleman for the affected families to provide tarpaulins and other material for temporary shelters. Here will not organize a larger auxiliary and distribution action, because in the small village just a few homes are affected by the earthquake and we want to cover a larger area. So we go ahead and look for a suitable area where we reach as many families as possible who are still waiting for help and who are very much in need. We decide to take the entire trek to Gorkha and look for a place to stay for the night. As it is already getting dark, we think instinctively stop for some unimportant reason. Immediately curious children and adults come to find out what's going on and who we are. A young man, just 30 years old comes to us to the window and asks us a few cautious and critical questions. After a brief exchange, translated by Venu for us, it turns out that he has been working as an Indian soldier in Darjeeling and is currently on leave at home with his family. He knows the area very well here, because he has explored the extension of the catastrophe together with other soldiers of the Indian government. He gave us the ideal information which we needed. It is shortly before sunset, but we decide spontaneously to at once look at one of the villages, and to search for a Hotel later on. It looks like a fortunate coincidence and we are looking forward to what may be waiting for us …


Arrived at Gorkha District - distribution in villages will start tomorrow

Phone call at 6:30pm:

Today the team drove from Hetauda to the district Ghorka
In the afternoon, trucks were temporarily parked and they started exploring the area by jeep
Partly „hiking“ by foot to villages hit by the earthquake to investigate the situation of the villagers
Tomorrow morning will drive by truck near the destroyed villages
Residents have been informed and come walking to the distribution point
Returning to Gorkha in the dark to spend the night there
Still unclear whether there is Internet connection in order to transmit photos and reports.

Trip report 5:

Around 6:00 am on May 14 we start with our entire luggage including tents, sleeping bags and other goods which we brought along from our friends at home. First we proceed to the house of our Indian friends, a former mayor of Raxaul and his family. They exchange our Indian into Nepalese Rupees, the exchange rate is approx. 1 INR equal 1.61 NRP. We get served a homemade Chai. As it will turn out later, this is our breakfast and lunch today...

Afterwards, we head to the registration office to apply for our visas and entry permit for Nepal. This is only possible today because after receiving the stamp we have to immediately leave India and cross the border to Nepal, as the officials told us yesterday. Last night we got a somewhat disturbing message saying that  Florian, Jürgen and Michael, who will follow from Nuremberg on May 21st, together with Katrin and who had only applied for a "single entry visa" will not be allowed to enter India again. This would have meant for us to book another flight from Kathmandu to Delhi which would have considerably disturbed our current time and organizational plans. Fortunately, the local officer informs us that we can again apply in Nepal for a visa for India which can be done in parallel to our work in the mountains. At many stations of the Indian and the Nepalese customs we are waiting for hours in the blazing heat of approx. 40°C. The tiny fans in our 6-seater taxi which are being worked out by the daily continuous operation do not bring any relief to the feeling of permanently sitting in a sauna. Our goods are examined and checked. At around 4:00 pm Venu holds out the prospect to our hungry team of having lunch soon, but shortly after we are advised that we have to line up once more with many trucks. The diesel might get scarce on our further trip, therefore, the Nepalese police has been instructed to refuel all trucks on government expense. We also learn that we are not allowed to continue on our own but with an armed escort of Nepalese soldiers. Shortly after the border begins a large forest area and after the earthquake there had been many raids on trucks transporting supplies. Therefore, the Nepalese government decided to combine the transports to large convoys with armed escorts. The 55 km drive from Raxaul took ca. 15 hours due to numerous controls. As it is already getting dark, we stop in a small village to finally eat something. Two plates of vegetable noodles are available. For the third person there is nothing left. We therefore split the portions into three. This is our first solid food today. Quite exhausted from endless waiting, the heat and the dust we reach Hetauda at 9:00pm and check into a hotel. The hotel owner informs us not to worry should the building shake at night. In the last two weeks it shook three times but did not collapse. He says that the walls are of good quality. If necessary, we should slowly go down the stairs into the garden and wait until the quake is over.

After Jürgen and Florian have freed the room from cockroaches - Florian found one under his pillow – who greeted us on entering the room, we write our reports and fall into bed. At least this night we are not plagued by too many mosquitoes. Another day has passed and we have advanced only sluggishly. We hope to reach our destination about 15 km west of Gorkha tomorrow. The locals tell us that the drive will take some 6-7 hours.


Just had telephone contact – the team will reach the first village in the area of destruction in about 3.5 hours

Latest news:
An hour ago, Alexandra called. The mobile phone network is very unstable, several attempts were necessary before a conversation was possible.
Yesterday, after crossing the border it took them 20 hours for a distance of 50 km. There are repeated controls. Before they reached the mountains they were driving through forested area almost like jungle.
On this part of the route they had an armed escort.
The roads in the mountains are ok so far, conditions similar to those of the Indian part of the Himalayas last November.
They spent the night in a hotel, there was electricity for charging the batteries, good breakfast, they slept well. Only Florian found a cockroach under his pillow.
The mood is very good; in about 3.5 hours they will reach the first village in the area of destruction.
Best wishes to all at home!

You can now find us on Facebook and the videos on YouTube. The ‚buttons‘ for the links are on the right side :-)


Further trip reports online – team just crossed the border to Nepal

Latest news:
The team has just crossed the border to Nepal. Alexandra briefly reported by phone: all are doing well and excited about what awaits them...
The convoy consists of two large trucks and 14 persons.

Trip report 3:

Today is Tuesday, May 12, 2015. After a short discussion and a modest breakfast consisting only of Chai (spiced tea), Alexandra, Jürgen, Florian and Venu, together with two employees of the grocer are heading on a SUV to Motihari. In Motihari the friends get a much better exchange rate for converting Euros into the Indian currency Rupees than in the border town of Raxaul. Therefore, the friends make the effort in order to get more Rupees. Due to the bad roads that are partly secured with gravel or asphalt or often not at all they are driving slowly and need more than 2 hours for the 50 km distance to reach the exchange office in Motihari. Also, it has been raining heavily in the night which led to lots of mud and water holes on the roads. Due to the rocking of the car even the Indian passenger got sick and had to vomit. The friends resorted to cardamom, an Indian spice which you chew and suck against nausea. However, the rain also offers some advantage. Had it stayed dry, the friends would have suffered of dust and heat. This way, the air is fresh and crisp and the temperature is pleasant with 25°C. In the exchange office, the friends are warmly welcomed and they are just discussing the terms when suddenly loud cries drown out the usual omnipresent Indian street noise. The staff of the exchange office jumps up and runs down the stairs into the street. The friends quickly realize … the earth quakes. People are gathering in the middle of the street seeking shelter. It is difficult to keep the balance as the floor is floating and it feels like standing in a boat.
Venu our Indian friend and collaborator tells us after a phone call that there has been an aftershock each of Kathmandu…

After ten minutes of earthquake and horror the people go back into their houses and go on with their normal daily routine. The traffic continues as if nothing had happened. Further minor aftershocks make the ground several more times tremble and the ground as well as the buildings continue to vibrate for a long time after. Here and there we see people vomiting for being "seasick". After the money exchange is complete, the return journey starts. For safety reasons the employees of the dealer have moved the car to another parking and are driving on other roads than we have come. Once in Raxaul, we are invited by the dealer and his family to have a snack. The friends enjoy the Indian snacks and are getting to know each other a bit closer. The dealer and his family have become very fond of the activity of FriendCircle WorldHelp and are thrilled to participate in the mission for Nepal. The friends learn from the dealer that the aftershock was even stronger in Raxaul than in Motihari. As they say goodbye to their new friends, they come round a place where there are still families who had gathered in fear of further aftershocks. They arrive tired at the hotel and after a short briefing with the team they decide to go to bed early. Tomorrow they have to apply for the visa and entry forms and the team still needs kitchen utensils. Also the loading of the relief supply must be organized. The departure to Nepal with the aid convoy is scheduled for Thursday, May 14 early in the morning...
The team in India/Nepal is always pleased to get encouraging messages from home and the back office and appreciates further support, especially good, positive thoughts and prayers.


Trip report 4:

On Wednesday morning, May 13, 2015, the day starts with an Indian breakfast and of course with the beloved Chai. During breakfast we discuss with our Indian friends Venu and Ramavarai the program of the day and organize the final preparations for the upcoming convoy. While we are talking we notice again and again that the entire building slightly fluctuates like a ferry. This went on already throughout the last night. As a precaution, we put our clothes and important light luggage right next to our bed. In the army this is called „alert chair", which means that in case of an alert you know at least where your stuff is and can be ready as soon as possible.  
The dealer who is supplying the potable water joins us during our discussion. He meets us by granting a very favorable discount – instead of 18 rupees per bottle he asks for 10 rupees only representing a discount of almost 50%. We let him know our joy and gratitude and he is happy as well to help the people in Nepal in this way.

Next item on our agenda is the visit of the immigration office. After a 20 minutes’ walk through the crowded main street of Raxaul which leads directly to the border crossing and to Nepal we arrive at the immigration office. The officer is very pleased and cooperative as he gets to know our plans for Nepal. He assures us of his full support and asks us to contact him any time in case we encounter any difficulties in Nepal. He also insures us that we can be completely at ease regarding the safety in Nepal, the Nepalese people being very friendly and humble so that we will be safe.

Then we drive by jeep to the leper colony where our friend Ramavarai and his family live. There we meet two young women who also live in the colony. Both are fully trained nurses and will complete our team and support our physician Michael Dykta in the medical camps. We are spending all afternoon with the purchase of kitchen utensils, food provisions for the team and a few personal things which can be useful in our “camp life”. Together with our Indian friends and the drivers we are meanwhile fourteen persons...

At the same time, the trucks are loaded with 30 tons of rice and flour and made ready for departure. In the evening we discuss the agenda of the following day and the tasks are distributed among the team members. Then we pack our personal belongings and go to bed on time. The mood of the whole team is very positive and there is tense expectation.


First trip reports online – 30 tons of relief supplies bought

Trip report 1:

On Saturday morning, May 9, 2015, at 08:00 am Florian Dykta, Jürgen Lütke-Wenning, Alexandra and Frank Schmitz meet in Bamberg. The trip to Nepal starts. With their personal luggage and a few bags of donated tents, blankets, sleeping pads, sleeping bags and a large tent which is to serve as a medical tent in Nepal they drive to the airport of Nuremberg. After the large bags are checked in a bulky luggage, Alexandra, Florian and Jürgen say goodbye to Frank, who will assist the group from home in the backoffice. With the stopover in Istanbul, they arrive in Delhi as scheduled on Sunday, May 10, at 05:30 am. The domestic flight is on schedule and they land in Patna, a city in the state of Bihar in eastern India at 03:00pm. On leaving the airport the friends are faced with Indian heat of 41°C. Venu, our Indian friend and contact person on site has organized a Jeep and a mini truck for the drive to Raxaul, a town on the border of India and Nepal. Scheduled arrival was about 10:00 pm. After 2 hours drive over bumpy roads night comes. The remaining route is dangerous since many Indian vehicles have no headlamps and pedestrians, cyclists and ox carts generally have no light. Suddenly the headlamps of the Jeep fall off and the driver has to stop. Due to the jolting some contacts of the electric system have loosened. The driver tries without any tools to find the damage and fix it makeshift. After half an hour we continue, at least the parking light is functioning. Shortly after light turns out repeatedly. Alexandra and the friends decide to continue on the minitruck.  Jürgen, Florian and Rambarai, another Indian friend, who is in charge of a leper colony in Bihar  perch on the bags of the open loading space. As they are approaching their target Raxaul  the wind grows stronger. On the way they pick up Sanju, who works as a volunteer teacher in the leper colony of Chota Phool. She wanted absolutely to support the friends in their relief operation in Nepal. Sanju also takes a seat on the loading space of the minitruck. The journey continues through the darfk night.
After some time they approach a large storm front. First, the wind is getting very strong with fierce gusts and swirling the sand and dust of the dry area.

The dust is unpleasant but at least this makes the temperature cool down a bit... In India and Nepal the rainy season is slowly starting and this kind of thunderstorm is normal for the season, our Indian companions say to reassure the friends. A little later, it is getting cooler and we can already smell the rain. Huge dark clouds are piling up on the sky and flashes illuminate the sky every second. The friends are protecting themselves and the luggage with a tarp as they drive further into the rain front. As they reach a station, they decide to continue the remaining trip by train and to take shelter first. Some interested young Indian men ask questions about the reasons of our trip and the friends are happy to provide information. Europeans are rather rarely met in this area of India. Venu translates from English into Hindi for those who do not understand English. After some waiting time the train arrives and the journey continues. The friends are very tired after all the efforts and excitements and make themselves comfortable as much as possible and sleep or at least try to sleep. At 2:30 am on May 11, the train arrives in Raxaul. Passengers and their personal baggage are loaded on three bicycle rickshaws driving on unpaved and until roads between 4-5 storey houses to the hotel. The roaring noise of the power generator receives the friends as they enter the hotel. On Monday at 3:00 am they fall quite exhausted in the beds after having travelled non-stop since Saturday morning.

Trip report 2:

After a short night the friends have breakfast together and plan the day ahead. A lot of important preparations are to be made before they will continue and cross the border to Nepal to reach the areas after by the earthquakes. First, they visit a wholesaler for food in order to negotiate prices and terms to get the maximum for the available money. Around noon they enter the shop of a dealer for rice, dal (lentils), flour, etc. Until a year ago the shop owner had been the mayor of Raxaul.
Alexandra, Venu, who will help with translating into Hindi if there are difficulties in English, Jürgen, Florian and Ramavarai take a seat in the dealer’s office space and are offered water and Chai (Indian spiced tea). The negotiations take a total of nearly 5 hours. Alexandra, who has led the negotiations for the friends could finally save several hundreds of Euro which will be used for the purchase of more food.  15 tons of rice and 15 tons of flour in 10 kilo bags each are ordered. Additionally, 3500 l of potable water in 1 liter bottles. This results in 3000 packages that can be distributed to needy families in Nepal. Everything is to be loaded on three vans that are already organized.
Then the friends go get an Indian SIM card and buy a few things like potable water. In the evening, Alexandra, Florian and Jürgen eat together in the hotel room. There is rice and lentils, and fried vegetables. Afterwards, Jürgen und Florian try the camping stove cooking tea on the stone floor of the hotel room with Florian using his head lamp. These things will be very useful in Nepal when there is no electricity and no hotel room but only tents for the friends to stay, but this we will find out soon…


1st telephone report from Raxaul, Bihar, India, near the border with Nepal

Mon 11.05.2015 - 10:00

Dear friends,

I just had a first telephone contact without team. Since their departure on Saturday morning there have only been short text messages.
Below you will find some information in note form.

Kind regards,

Telephonic report from Raxaul, Bihar, India, near the border to Nepal, regarding the course of the trip

  • Sunday morning around 05:30am arrival in Delhi – Entry with luggage no problem
  • By noon onward journey with domestic flight to Patna, Bihar, India
  • Arrival in Patna – 41°C (!) on leaving the airport
  • Venu and Ramavarai already expecting the team with mini truck and Jeep
  • Starting immediately in direction to Raxaul
  • Due to poor roads underway electrical failure on Jeep
  • As a consequence at nightfall failure of headlamps
  • Provisional repair – Jeep has to be push-started
  • Slow driving
  • Another breakdown of the Jeep
  • Decision: leave Jeep, all continue by truck to Raxaul
  • Alexandra entering front cab, the others on loading space
  • Good mood on loading area, quite comfortable on blankets
  • Then emerging wind
  • Gusts rollers with sand
  • In the villages on our way mood as in Western cities in movies
  • Picking up Sanju from Chota Phool, teacher
  • Then lightning
  • Sky now black, it is pitch dark
  • Roads even worse
  • It starts raining
  • Taking out the tarp among the bags on the loading area
  • The four with baggage under tarpaulin
  • Heavy rain
  • Enduring...
  • Shortly before midnight a train station is reached
  • Take shelter in the station concourse
  • Indians at the station very curious
  • Long waiting
  • Continue by train to Raxaul
  • Arrival at Raxaul at 02.00 am
  • City all dark, except for a few weak lights
  • By bicycle rickshaw to the hotel
  • Falling exhausted in the beds at 03:00 am
  • No public grid
  • Only generators
  • Roads in this region all unpaved, even in the city
  • Slept until 10.00 am
  • After breakfast on Monday morning starting errands
  • Today and tomorrow shopping in Raxaul
  • Right now for example purchasing aid packages for 1.500 persons (flour, rice, dhal, oil, water)
  • The day tomorrow scheduled for organization and border formalities
  • Wednesday starting very early, six days in the mountains, then back because Jürgen leaving and Michael arriving...
  • A detailed report will follow; not yet clear whether, when and where there will be internet connection.

On the Journey

Dear friends,

Check-in went well and after half an hour finally also our baggage was checked in. Phew! By clicking on the photos in the gallery you will find three new images. Now team 1 with Florian, Jürgen and Alexandra is on its way via Istanbul and Delhi to Patna, where the three will arrive tomorrow afternoon.

Warm regards,


Tremendous response upon donation appeal for sleeping bags, tents, etc.
All luggages packed!

Dear friends,

Welcome to our newly designed website. After a night shift by Christian and Peter it just could be released this morning in time for the trip. On this occasion many thanks also to Tobias who has realized the programming of this new layout, together with his team. There are still a few minor problems to be solved and the integration of the old travel reports is not yet complete, especially the English translations. However, we are delighted to be able to report more efficiently with new features ;-)
This afternoon we had to pack the many many donated sleeping bags, camping mats, tents, etc. in the courtyard of “Rolands’ Alpinladen”. Many thanks to all donors. We experienced a wave of helpfulness of the citizens of Bamberg and surroundings area – the response was just amazing!!

Roland and Felix, assisted by the rest of the team of the shop, as well as Susanne and Frank sorted the donated goods and loaded them into large transport bags. Each bag was then carefully weighed. Frank had made phone calls all morning to get another free luggage with the airlines. Gradually, the trailer was loaded and finally some 200 kg were packed. Alexandra took some impressive photos...
The check-in tomorrow morning in Nuremberg will be exciting with almost 80 kg excess luggage than actually approved. The station director of  "Turkish Airlines" in Nuremberg had sent a further request to the headquarters. Tomorrow we will know the result. With "IndiGo Airlines" we were allowed to further increase the luggage ;-)
Gregor spontaneously joined the team with his brother’s Bernhard bus to drive the remaining treasures to an empty house in Trabelsdorf and store them there.  Dieter has been kind enough to let us use the house for the storage of flea market stuff and other things.

More than a garage full of material had been donated within two days (!!). We therefore decided already yesterday evening to carry out a further auxiliary transport in winter to Romania. The impressions of the last trip in January are still deeply ingrained in the minds of the team... The people in Romania will be incredibly glad about the sleeping bags, mattresses, warm clothes and shoes….

Kind regards

Frank, Alexandra, Michael, Katrin, Jürgen, Florian, Christian, Peter, Maria, Erni and friends

PS: With immediate effect you can now also find us on Facebook


Update: flights booked

Thur, 30.04.2015 - 13:46

Hello everybody,

we just booked the flights for the team. Details will follow.

Kind regards,


Preparations have started

Tue, 28.04.2015 - 22:03

Earthquake in Nepal and northern India - a journey is in preparation

Good evening,

After the terrible earthquake in Nepal and northern India last Saturday, preparations for a relief operation are presently in full swing.
The team is ready and we are now organizing the journey. Since the airport in Kathmandu is presently overloaded, and the international aid is concentrating on this area, FriendCircle WorldHelp will choose a different route to reach the affected areas. The team already knows the region of the border with Nepal, north of the Indian city of Patna. Therefore, they will travel with domestic flights from Delhi as they usually do to visit the school projects in Chakia and Chota Phool...
One possibility would be to drive with auxiliary goods from Patna to the north to reach the affected villages in the border area and in Nepal from this direction.
Our friend Venu in India is also involved in the research and we hope to get good news so that the flights can be booked.
As soon as there is more information, we will let you know. The departure is scheduled to take place within the next few days.

Have a nice evening!
Alexandra, Michael and Frank


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Florian and Alexandra in front of the Immigration Office at the border from India to Nepal
The trucks loaded with 10 kg bags of rice and flour.
For the first transport a total of 30 tons of rice and flour was loaded on the trucks.
The freshly printed banners by which we want to identify our base camp and the distribution points as well as the medical camps.
For security reasons we are traveling with an armed escort ...
Six large bales of thermal mats are bought.
People gathering for distribution.
The families are patiently waiting for their turn.
At the first place of distribution people have been waiting a long time. The heat is intense, therefore, people protect themselves with umbrellas.
Peoples faces show their joy...
Jürgen filming the distribution of the flour bags...
Second place of distribution, where finally some 1.000 persons will be waiting for us...
Crowds of people jostling around the trucks...
... waiting patiently until their names are called by the organization team ...
The distribution place. Our friend Narein, who lives in the first village, giving instructions from below ...
During and after distribution, the treasures are transported with small tractors to the vicinity of the mountain villages, where the people live ...
Katrin, Michael, Alexandra and Florian traveling by horse-drawn carriage to the Immigration Office of Nepal, to take the accessories for the medical camp across the border.
The vehicle for the trip to the mountains is ready packed.
After the 2nd earthquake on May 12 when our team 1 was in Motihari whole areas are destroyed. Here a house in Charikot. Our trip to the mountain villages, where no help has yet arrived, will take another 2.5 hours.
This house we photographed on the journey from Charikot direction Sunkhani. It has two floors and is lopsided, and there is only one meter distance to the neighboring house which remained intact.
Everywhere we see people on the ruins of their existence. Desperate, but without losing courage they try to save with bare hands, whatever can be saved. We often stop and give people some money to buy tools.
The first day > 200 patients get treatment-
Michael gently picks her up on his arms, and we drive with child who does not speak, towards the mountains.
Each time we stop and eat something, Ronja not only eats two plates of rice like a full-grown man,  but seven!
Like everywhere in Nepal also here military forces are stationed. Upon our request they willingly help us.
At night, the tents brought along are used to  house the patients after treatment.
Then it gets started. Mingmar translates ...
Another patient is brought to medical tent 2.
First consultation. Long lines of people standing on the makeshift tent (made of bamboo sticks with plastic sheeting) to report Michael about their health problems.
Michael listing up needed medicine.  Mingmar will buy it in the evening in Kathmandu, as he must go there to get the tools and solar cells that we need for some localities.
At the first receiving station blood pressure is measured and first data of the patients are recorded ..
Michael explains and all help as best they can ...
The hernia of little Sania is operated...
Florian assists, if something is needed. He straightens the lamp battery, needed by Michael for the OP and which slips from time to time to the rear ...
Shortly after the surgery. Bravely the father and the mother waiting outside until the operation is over.
Michael carries the child under a shady tarp for waking up. Despite a fan it is hotter in the tent than outside.
The child with his parents the day after the surgery.
Many people wait outside the medical tent with their notes.
Our friend Wasti ensures discipline and instructs the people ...
Time is running out, because it takes four days for the return journey to reach our flights to Germany ... - people have been waiting a long time with their notes and hope for their turn. These people cannot afford medicine in the hospitals because they have lost almost everything ...
During these days we buy three solar charging stations for various areas, so that the people can again recharge their cell phones and reach their relatives in the distance and can power small lights for the night with electricity.
In addition, we buy 4800 kg of urgently needed nails in three different sizes, as well as saws, hammers and pliers. Here the treasures are being delivered ...
Before distribution
Mingmar returns by taxi to buy saws, nails and hammers - important tools for the repair of the housings.
Nepal is a "do-it-yourself market for wood", but there are no tools ...
There is great joy...
The very next day, the villagers have built the framework for a house with the tools and nails, which we bought in Kathmandu ..
We leave our power generator to the villagers...
The current generator densely surrounded. After two weeks, this is the first opportunity to load cell phones.
At the end we give away the remaining sleeping bags and thermal mats that were collected in Roland's  Alpinladen. The kids can not believe that they are chosen and think that we want to make a photo with them. After the photo they give us the things back, until they understand that these are now theirs ..

Info Nepal

The April 2015 Nepal earthquake [7][8] killed 9,000 people and injured more than 19,000. It occurred on 25 April, with a magnitude of 7.9Mw[1] or 8.1Ms[2] and a maximum Mercalli Intensity of VIII (Severe). Its epicenter was the Gorkha district, and its hypocenter was at a depth of approximately 15 km (9.3 mi).[1] It was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake.[9][10][11]

Continued aftershocks occurred throughout Nepal within 15–20 minute intervals, with one shock reaching a magnitude of 6.7 on 26 April. The country also had a continued risk of landslides.[20]

A second major earthquake occurred on 12 May 2015 with a moment magnitude (Mw) of 7.3.Mw.[21] The epicenter was near the Chinese border between the capital of Kathmandu and Mt. Everest.[22]More than 125 people were killed and more than 2,500 were injured by this aftershock.[23]

Source: Wikipedia


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