I never thought I would be a baker. Once, when I was with my father in Kathmandu for his medical checkup, he said he wanted to start a bakery in Langtang. I bought him all the equipment, but a few days later he died. I wanted to turn his unfulfilled dream into reality and learnt to bake.
Initially, the internet recipes I relied on failed. A trekker in my lodge even said:This is the most horrible chocolate cake I have ever tasted. But I kept trying. Another guest helped me bake properly, and brew coffee.
When the earthquake hit, I was having coffee at the lodge. The guests ran out. Then I heard the roar of the avalanche coming down from Langtang Lirung. I saw my kitchen collapse in front of my eyes, and the hotel crumbled. We hid in a corner, and watched this huge cloud of snow and dust cover Kyanjing Gumba. It was hard to breathe.
The avalanche stopped, but rocks kept falling. People were crying. The helicopters finally came we evacuated injured tourists and neighbours. I was rescued on the fourth day, and when I met my family who was in Kathmandu, we held each other and cried. We had become homeless refugees in our own country.
But the young Langtangpa in Kathmandu started a reconstruction committee in a Swayambhu monastery where the head Lama gave us permission to stay as long as we needed. We focused on fundraising because we knew that the government’s Rs300,000 government grant would not go far.
It has been five years, and my Dorje Bakery Café and Coffee Center named after my late father has been rebuilt. We had revived tourism, and life was going back to normal when this virus happened. It has destroyed our livelihood once again. We do not know now this will end, but we survived the earthquake and we will overcome this crisis too. There will be more earthquakes and disasters, but future generations need to know how we did not give up hope even when everything was destroyed.