Shane Basi is a trained medic and former member of the Oregon National Guard who served several tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He traveled to Katmandu in August 2014 to study Buddhism. When a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the Asian nation, Basi took his military training and put it to work, helping to save the life of young Khendro Tamang who was trapped under the rubble of her remote village.
It was just over 6 months ago when the quake hit on April 25. Basi was studying at a monastery in Katmandu. He and several other American students realized that their specialized skills could help to save lives. They traveled to Khendro’s village located in a mountainous region more than 9 hours from the capital city. Upon arriving, they witnessed a scene of near complete devastation. There were scores of villagers in desperate need of medical attention but Basi was drawn to young Khendro, who had been trapped under heavy concrete.
"She was in the most critical condition out of about 35 patients that we had,” Basi recalled. "With bamboo stretchers that we put together [we] took her and the other four off of the mountain down to the Nepali army base and she was airlifted by an Indian helicopter to the hospital in Kathmandu."
It was a perilous journey taking over 6 hours, Basi recalled.
Throughout her recovery, Basi has made a commitment to be there for Khendro. By using the Internet, he has crowd-sourced nearly $6,000 to assist her recovery and insure that she will be able to walk again. He visits her family frequently as she attends physical therapy appointments at a local Kathmandu clinic.
The clinic is operated in part by the non-governmental organization Handicap International. Through its efforts, hundreds of victims of the April quake are receiving prosthetic limbs that are created in workshops located in Nepal. Handicap International operates on the theory that advanced medical treatment can best be provided by the Nepali people themselves. The group trains and assists the local population to help themselves, thus keeping costs down and providing better care.
Thanks to Basi's commitment and the physical therapists of Handicap International, Khendro is thriving.
"I wanted to make sure that she had something to live for after her survival,” Basi said.
Khendro is inspiring all those around her. Her bright smile and eager disposition is helping others to face their challenges. Recently, Khendro received her first prosthetic leg. While it will take months for her to learn how to master walking properly on the device, she is enthusiastically working with her therapists as only a 7-year-old can.
“We've just been waiting for this for so long,” Basi said. “This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”