NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nepal native living and going to school in Nacogdoches is missing home more than ever since last month's devastating earthquake.
The Stephen F. Austin State University student just received his doctorate. There were goals of continuing study and work in the United States, but now the future is in conflict with a desire to return home.
Right now, Chetanath Gautam's closest connection to his native Nepal is Facebook. The images are familiar, but the reality of what he views is still setting in.
"It's very hard to comprehend. I don't know how to comprehend. My sister lost home totally," Gautam said. "My wife's sister's mother in law and six other family members passed away."
The first international doctoral student in educational leadership at SFA grieves for other losses. The century old monuments he so loved to view are torn away.
"Now you don't see the temple," Gautam said.
The former principal also has a concern for children.
"There is no sign of a school," Gautam said. The roof has just flattened on the ground."
The other passion is surprisingly, animals. Gautam led an animal rescue center in Nepal.
"A lot of pets have come out to the streets," Gautam said. "Already we have so many dogs there."
Gautam is torn between his responsibilities here at SFA and wanting to be with friends and family in Nepal. Colleagues convinced him to stay for the May 19th graduation, but he knows it will be a day of mixed emotions.
"I had to come to my office, spent two, three hours just for letting my tears go down, and I cried loud," Gautam said.
Nepal won't hear the sobbing, but may benefit from the awareness Gautam is creating for its benefit. He's raising money donations for UNICEF and Nepal Street Animal Rescue.
There are two professors and about 10 Nepalese students at SFA. They are working together to raise awareness and money for the Nepal effort.
Here are the links for the UNICEF and Nepal Street Animal Rescue Websites.
Copyright 2015 KTRE. All rights reserved.