Nepali Times Asian Paints

Back to Main Page

The baby who lived

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
..................................................................................................................

It is an iconic image of the Nepal Earthquake: a baby, caked in dust, being held up by rescuers after being dug out alive (pic, below) after 22 hours from the rubble of his home in Bhaktapur.

Sonish Awal is found alive after 22 hours under the rubble. Pic: Kathmandu Today

Sonish Awal is found alive after 22 hours under the rubble. Pic:Amul Thapa/Kathmandu Today

Sonish Awale was just five months old, and the story of his miraculous survival made cover stories in newspapers  and magazines, and went around the world. Two months on, after countless interviews to reporters the Awal family is still homeless but feel blessed that both their children are alive.

“Sonish is a happy child,” says his mother, Rashmila, as she leads us to the ground floor of a friend’s house in Bhaktapur where the family has been staying. “He has started to recognise me now.” The baby, now seven months old, looks up at his mother and smiles almost on cue.

HAPPY FAMILY: Rashmila Awal with her seven-month baby, Sonish, who was pulled out of the rubble of their home in Bhaktapur after 22 hours. Photo: Sahina Shrestha

HAPPY FAMILY: Rashmila Awal with her seven-month baby, Sonish, who was pulled out of the rubble of their home in Bhaktapur after 22 hours. Photo: Sahina Shrestha

After their building collapsed on 25 April, neighbours and Army rescuers tried frantically to dig out the baby from the under the rubble. They rescued Rashmila’s daughter Sonia, but they gave up as night fell. The next morning, Rashmila heard a faint cry from the ruins of their four-storey home and the soldiers came back to dig him out.

Today Sonish shows no sign of the ordeal except for a scar on his left thigh. He coos and gurgles as he tries to crawl on the floor of the unfurnished room. “Everything was stolen from the house including the gas cylinder and cooking utensils,” says Rashmila. “All I could salvage were a few clothes.”

The family had been living in a tent at a school, but had to vacate when classes resumed last month.  Sonish fell ill and lost a lot of weight, and with the rains coming Rashmila didn’t want to take any chances. Unable to afford a room to rent, Rashmila’s friend agreed to let her live in a room in their house.

“My husband is out of work, we don’t even have enough money to buy new utensils or furniture,” she says, looking at the bare room. “For now we are sharing a room and kitchen with my friend. But you cannot depend on others forever.”

Sonia Awal was also rescued alive and now baby sits her baby brother when she is home from school.

Sonia Awal was also rescued alive and now baby sits her baby brother when she is home from school.

Shyam Awal is a driver, but with construction stopped by a government ban till mid-July he can’t find a job. “They have told him there may be no work till Dasain,” says Rashmila, who had to borrow money from her sister for Sonia’s school uniform. And only reason she can go to school is because someone paid her school fees.

Rashmila used to knit sweaters and socks to earn money, but she has her hands full with little Sonish who starts crying the moment he is left alone. After what she went through, Rashmila can’t let her baby out of her sight.

Still glad that the family is alive, Rashmila can’t help worrying about the future. The little money they had saved has all been used up, and the house and property is co-owned by three of Shyam’s brothers.

Says Rashmila: “Both my children were buried under the rubble and miraculously both of them survived, and that is more than all the money in the world.”

Sahina Shrestha

 Read Also:

Rising from the dust

Tears of joy

Go back to previous page          Bookmark and Share         



3 Responses to “The baby who lived”

  1. Grasshopper Green on Says:

    you bet we do

  2. Finnen Morris on Says:

    This photo reminds me that the world is filled with HOPE. NOW WE MUST PUT THAT HOPE INTO ACTION! Blessings, little one, to you and your family, and all Nepal!

  3. Ravi Raj Kaur on Says:

    Yes make a rule just to talk about politicians when they are useful.

Leave a Reply

 

himalkhabar.com            

NEPALI TIMES IS A PUBLICATION OF HIMALMEDIA PRIVATE LIMITED | ABOUT US | ADVERTISE | SUBSCRIPTION | PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS OF USE | CONTACT