TEARS OF GRATITUDE: Nepal earthquake survivor Chataki says standing in a doorway may have saved her life.
TEARS OF GRATITUDE: Nepal earthquake survivor Chataki says standing in a doorway may have saved her life. Patrick Woods

Coast grandmother saved by 'heart voice' in Nepal quake

WHEN a massive earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, Sunshine Coast grandmother Chataki remembered what she had been taught as a child in New Zealand.

"I just moved to the doorway. My father always said in an earthquake, stand in the doorway," she said.

Chataki was helping out in the renowned Nirvana Cafe in Kathmandu when the earthquake struck.

She had put some flowers in vases, rearranged cushions, and had a coffee.

Damage after the Nepal earthquake of April 25. Photo: Chataki
Damage after the Nepal earthquake of April 25. Photo: Chataki

A few customers had been in earlier but there was a lull and only one of the owners, five staff and herself were present.

Chataki had just walked up a narrow set of stairs from the second storey when things began to shake and her "heart voice" told her to move.

"I think I remember looking into someone's face, and then the wall blew open, and that's when I was 'transported' right there, in line with the door frame."

A huge plate glass sheet next to her miraculously did not even have a crack.

Chataki's hands began to tremble as she recounted the story and tears welled in her eyes.

"It's gratitude. Tears of gratitude," she said.

"I'm very, very grateful."

Chataki's five children, aged 12 to 40, did not know if she was alive or dead for three days, until they were able to get through to her on her mobile phone.

Damage after the April 25 Nepal earthquake. Photo: Chataki
Damage after the April 25 Nepal earthquake. Photo: Chataki

"They were ready to come over and start looking through the rubble."

She stayed with a friend, sleeping on the concrete carport floor most nights and enduring an estimated 100 aftershocks, before she was able to fly out five days later.

"Some nights we had to run out four or five times so we were continually on our nerves. We were actually having to go through big, big aftershocks."

Chataki is now dividing her time between family at Flaxton and Maroochydore, but Nepal and the earthquake are never far from her thoughts.

She still has pains in her head and neck that signal to her that her "body is still shaking".

A spiritual person, Chataki had been in Nepal about four months after spending the previous six in India.

She believes she was meant to be in Nepal during the earthquake.

Her greatest concern now is that supplies of food, water, basic sanitary items, tarpaulins and garbage bags reach the Nepalese people.


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