Islandmagee granny’s family to build Nepal homes for earthquake survivors

Islandmagee woman Marita Prendy pictured in her tent in Nepal with two nuns from the Druk Amitabha Mountain DGK nunnery outside Kathmandhu. INLT-20-727-con
Islandmagee woman Marita Prendy pictured in her tent in Nepal with two nuns from the Druk Amitabha Mountain DGK nunnery outside Kathmandhu. INLT-20-727-con

The daughter of an Islandmagee woman trapped in Nepal after the recent earthquake is fundraising to build houses for victims of the disaster.

Jane Prendy’s 77-year-old mother Marita was working at the Druk Amitabha Mountain DGK nunnery outside Kathmandhu when the first earthquake struck on Saturday April 25.

Marita then spent two weeks sleeping in a tent on the mountainside at the nunnery before finally arriving home safely at Heathrow airport on May 9.

A relieved Jane told the Times: “We managed to get a message to her to tell her her flight had changed, but we didn’t know that she would be on it.

“We are so relieved and grateful to have her back, especially after the second earthquake struck.

“My brother-in-law and nephew went to collect her from the airport and when she appeared it was a massive relief to everybody.

“We have had messages of support from friends not only in Islandmagee but around the world, including Australia and New Zealand.”

Marita has been spent six months a year in Nepal for the past decade.

The nunnery is the site of a popular Buddhist temple, and Marita helps the nuns by teaching them English, gardening and mural painting.

Jane says that Marita, who is currently staying with her sister Lisa in Oxford, was unaware of the full impact of the earthquake, which killed 8,500 people.

She explained: “Mum was in a bubble. When the earthquake hit she was at the zoo and the monkeys were going crazy and she had to grab hold of the bars at the enclosure.

“They got a taxi straight back to the nunnery and the nuns were going out to work and help people clear the rubble, but when they came back they were quiet.

“Since she has got back she has been looking at the news, for example she hadn’t known about the effect of the earthquake on Everest.

“My mum is a very understated woman and she didn’t realise how bad the situation was or how worried we all were. Perhaps it’s just coming to light for her now.”

Jane is married to Nepalese native Rishi, whose family hail from the Lamjung area.

After the relief of knowing that their loved ones had survived the initial earthquake, Jane says that she “felt sick” to learn of the second earthquake which struck on May 12.

She continued: “It has been 80 years since the last big earthquake hit Nepal.

“Rishi calls his family as often as he can to check they are ok.

“People there were expecting something to happen but they are worried there could be a further quake as it is unstable.”

Keen to help the country get back on its feet, Jane and Rishi raised £551 through their company Namaste Nepal, which they intend to donate to the nunnery where her mother was staying.

The couple have also just launched a fundraising project named “Go Build-Nepal” to deliver aid and build ten houses in Nepal for those affected by the disaster.

Jane explained: “To build a basic house for one family costs around £400 and we are hoping to build ten houses so we need to raise £4,000.

“These houses would be for the poorest people and they could make a big difference.

“We are working with architecture students from the University of Kathmandu to look at how to develop the best model.

“So far we have raised £1570 for this project and we would ask the public to keep supporting the people out there.”

To donate to Go Build-Nepal, visit: http://www.gofundme.com/uju8g4mg.