When Texas Wesleyan University student Ashish Khadka’s phone call with a friend was interrupted by the sound of running, he was filled with fear.
Khadka, 19, soon learned about the devastating earthquake that hit his country, Nepal, destroyed his family’s home in Kathmandu and killed a young cousin.
“I was scared,” said Khadka, who is mourning his country’s losses as well as the death of cousin Rex Khadka, 9, whom he calls a brother.
“My little cousin was and will always have a place in my heart,” Khadka told the Star-Telegram in an email describing an intelligent young boy.
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The Texas Wesleyan campus community of 2,472 students this spring includes more than 150 students from Nepal.
Khadka said he talks to his family every few hours to make sure they are safe. His parents and siblings, a 12-year-old brother and 15-year-old sister, stay in tents at night. His grandparents, who lived in a rural area about 50 miles north of the capital, also lost their home.
He said pouring rain since the quake “has been an additional misery to the people.”
About 5,000 people have lost their lives, about 10,000 are injured and more than 12,000 are missing, he said.
“I am still cannot believe what has happened,” Khadka said, explaining that besides lives and homes, cherished historical monuments have crumbled to the ground.
The campus had a candlelight vigil in honor of Nepal on Tuesday. On Wednesday, a fundraising effort began to generate dollars for relief in Nepal. With a donation of $1, people received a Nepalese flag with a space for them to write their names. The flags are being posted throughout West Library.
Dennis Hall, dean of students at Texas Wesleyan, said the university was touched by the tragedy and wanted to help.
The university plans “The Day of Awareness” beginning at 11 a.m. May 5 at the Campus Mall. Students will be able to buy T-shirts, receive a henna design and participate in various activities. Funds raised through May 6 will go toward relief efforts, Hall said.
Diane Smith, 817-390-7675