Boise & Garden City

Boise State’s Nepalese students, others remember victims at vigil

“There is no word,” says Ramila Timilsena, who is from Nepal but has lived in Boise for five years. “Heartbroken. Feeling helpless.” Her mother is visiting in Boise but her father and relatives are in Kathmandu. “They are very scared. They are very devastated.”

She was among 175 Boise State students and community members from Nepal who attended a Tuesday night vigil to remember the dead and injured and show support for the effort to respond and rebuild following last weekend’s earthquake.

“We are halfway around the world from Nepal and still, we are gathered here,” said Ujjwal Roy, president of the Nepalese Student Association. One of his cousins died when his house collapsed as he was trying to escape. “How much love and care we have received from Boise State and Boise City.”

About two dozen Nepalese students attend Boise State, according to the university, and about a dozen have graduated in the past few years. At least one of those students plans to return home soon to help, the school said. Boise State’s Nepalese Student Association created a fund to assist in the Nepalese quake response.

One of those association members is grad student Shital Dhakal. It was seven hours after the earthquake before he received word through a friend that his family in the eastern part of the country was OK. “The longest seven hours,” he said.

He said his family has lived in a tent in recent days, because the family house has cracks and with aftershocks still shaking the country his family is afraid to go inside. Friends told him of the destruction and a shortage of water and food.

“You never think it will happen to your family, and then it happens,” he said. “You want to help. But there’s no way you can reach out.”

Boise’s Hare Krishna Temple said one of its members traveling in Kathmandu is safe and is helping with the response.

Idaho State University has about 50 Nepalese students who organized a vigil in Pocatello Tuesday night and its Nepalese Student Association is raising money to support an eastern Idaho response.

“There is a huge Nepalese student population in Pocatello. Plus — Idaho being an avid mountaineering state — we have several Idahoans who have lived (in) or traveled to Nepal for climbing and mountaineering and have many friends they know over there,” Fahim Rahim, a Pocatello doctor and founder of the JRM Foundation for Humanity, told the Idaho State Journal.

Rahim and other local volunteers will leave Tuesday for Nepal as part of a medical and disaster team. Rahim said they will work with a team in Dubai to provide supplies, like medicines and tents, and will hold a two-day medical camp in Kathmandu and a two- to three-day medical relief camp in Pokhara among other relief efforts.