It was a shocking sight, especially for the young school children of Harinagar, to see so many dead bodies lying around everywhere after the Madi bus bombing last month. But their instinct to help fellow Nepalis galvanised them into action to help as many survivors as possible. This was the day when the country saw the bloodiest attack by Maoist militants on innocent civilians. But while the country watched in shock and dismay, a group of 25 students from Madi bravely provided immediate relief to survivors.
"We managed to control the bleeding of many people by bandaging them," says Amrit Gayak, a grade eight student who also works with the Junior Red Cross Circle. The students lifted the injured passengers and put them in tractors and oxcarts and dispatched them to the nearest health centre. Others were engaged in securing the area by placing ropes to avoid any more risk to the survivors and to prevent them from losing their money, jewellery and other belongings. "We carried our Red Cross flag and suppressed our emotions in order to help them," says Amrit. "We managed not to show any weakness to the wounded people," adds another student Hari Krishna Lamichhane.
At first, the students became afraid when they saw guns and ammo clips lying on the ground but later they handed over all these to the five RNA soldiers who survived. Encouraged by the brave children, adult villagers also joined in to provide help. Bishnu Maya Poudel, a 55-year-old resident, helped the injured children even though her son and daughter-in-law were lying on the ground after the explosion. Fortunately, both had survived. Her daughter-in-law, Bhuwanshanti had fainted after she found herself under the heap of bodies. But when she regained consciousness, she collected herself and began tending to an injured child and her sister-in-law. She had searched for her brother but found him dead. Such voluntary and brave spirit displayed by the local residents of Madi was so overwhelming that it led to the ICRC calling them 'model citizens'. While the Maoists displayed inhumanity and terrorism, the Madi villagers spread compassion and humanity.