Wellington: Dreams of a better life might have forced Mamta Khanal to stay put in New Zealand along with her husband, but her heart seems to be 12,000 km away: Longing to be with her three-year-old son Prashith back in her native Nepal.
Their lives, as of thousands of others from Nepal, have been turned topsy-turvy by the April 25 earthquake of 7.9 magnitude, which damaged the family house in Kathmandu, where their son lives with his grandparents.
Since the temblor, many aftershocks have kept the family members, both in New Zealand and in Kathmandu, on tenterhooks. Prashith and his old grandparents have been forced to sleep on the streets, as the fear of house collapse hangs over their heads like the sword of Democles, The New Zealand Herald reported on Tuesday.
The quake in Nepal had killed over 9,000 people, apart from thousands of domestic animals. It had also destroyed thousands of houses and buildings, including historical monuments.
Mamta had moved to New Zealand with her husband Pradip Sapkota in March 2014 for further studies in a bid to ensure a comfortable life for her family. The couple had planned to bring their son to New Zealand when he turned five.
The young woman sighed that it broke her heart to see on Skype the harsh conditions which her family back home had been forced to live under after the quake. It was hard to talk via Skype because it is so upsetting to hear what they are going through and not being of any help, she said resignedly.
"When I see my house and see how they are sleeping on the ground under the open sky, I get very sad and can't talk to them.
"When I see my son, he cries, and says 'mum, when can I come to New Zealand?'," Mamta said while pursing her lips and holding back tears.
Economic considerations have surely held back the couple from sending for the apple of their eyes. She said her student visa meant she could work only 20 hours a week whereas Pradip couldn't work until his visitor visa was upgraded to a work visa.
"Once he starts working full-time, only then can we afford to bring our son her," she said.
The young mother asserted that the couple would work hard and send money back home to ensure their family lived in comfort. "I want to help them because they are all my responsibility," she said.
"I feel so bad that the pride of Nepalese people is gone. Our temples, our historical places, especially Mount Everest, are the pride of the Nepalese people."
Despite the damage to their house, Mamta Khanal said, she was grateful to the Almighty that her family was safe and sound and prayed for them every day.
"Some people have lost everything - their homes, their mothers, their sons."