Ekindra and Alyson at Patan Durbar Square in May 2014. The centuries-old Hindu temples in the background were destroyed by the earthquake.
ALTON — On Saturday a 7.6-magnitude earthquake rumbled through Nepal, but it was personally felt in Greater Alton.
Since the initial quake occurred in the small district of Gorkha, aftershocks reaching 6.7 have followed, bringing the current death toll to more than 4,800 and injuries to 9,200.
When Ss. Peter and Paul parishioner Alyson (Slaughter) Rasaili first traveled to Nepal on a mission trip during the fall and winter of 2013, she spent her time teaching English to children. She was sent for a mission trip a second time in May 2014 to help combat the issue of human trafficking.
Nepal was entering into an election and political instability and unrest was a concern. Making things difficult for residents and mission workers, they were to stay indoors and not wonder about the city.
“We were not able to leave from our housing due to the unrest in the political climate,” Slaughter-Rasaili said. “There was a tea shop across the alley and we were able to go there. That is where I met Ekindra.”
Ekindra and Alyson became engaged and he joined her in the United States on a fiancé visa in December 2014. They became husband and wife just three weeks ago but were saddened that Ekindra’s parents, Mother Laxmi and Father Padam, along with other members of the family, were not able to join them for the wedding.
“It’s so difficult to get a visa from Nepal,” Slaughter-Rasaili said. “It was very upsetting that they couldn’t be here for our wedding. It’s almost a luck of the draw and who you interview with to get a visa. In Nepal everyone is family. Cousins are treated the same as brothers. Neighbors are seen as family. It is a very tight community where everyone is close with each other.”
Married just a few weeks and dealing with new challenges, Alyson and Ekindra were not prepared for the devastating earthquake that destroyed his family’s home.
“By the grace of God, they all survived the earthquake,” Slaughter-Rasaili said. “They are forced to live in tent cities right now. Just like you see on the news, they have nothing. We are fortunate that we have communication with them. Phone and Internet providers are allowing people in Nepal free use as long as they’re able to have a signal.”
Ss. Peter and Paul church is accepting monetary donations to help those affected by Saturday’s devastating earthquake.
“They took a special offering in church on Sunday,” Slaughter-Rasaili said. “Ss. Peter and Paul will collect the funds and send it to the district secretary, who is like a council member or treasurer. They will allocate all the funds and distribute it properly. We are not raising the money just for Ekindra’s family, this is for their entire town that was the epicenter of the earthquake.”
Anyone interested in making a monetary donation can send it to Ss. Peter and Paul Church, in care of Monsignor Stephen at 717 State St., Alton, IL 62002, or call (618) 465-4221 for more information.