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In Nepal, second quake brings second chance for one little girl

Sunday May 24, 2015    3:25 PM

(CNN)Sometimes, life takes twists so fortuitous that they seem inevitably predetermined. That may be the case for Maya Gurung, a 10-year-old girl suffering in post-earthquake Nepal.

I met Maya in Kathmandu earlier this month and told her story on CNN.com. She lost her lower left leg in the April 25 quake and suddenly, her already hardscrabble life became that much harder. She was a poor girl living on unforgiving Himalayan terrain. Without a limb, her life took an ominous turn.

Maya and her father, Bhim Bahadur Gurung, had held high hopes that the doctors who treated her at a Kathmandu hospital would fit her for a prosthetic leg. But the hospital was overwhelmed after the earthquake. Maya would have to wait for many months, the doctors told her father.

Without money, Gurung plucked his crippled daughter from Bed No. 41 in the female surgical unit, put her on his back and began a long and arduous journey home to Kasi Gaon, their village in Gorkha District.

Relief Efforts Underway After Second Quake Hits Nepal Relief Efforts Underway After Second Quake Hits Nepal 05:52 PLAY VIDEO Rescue efforts delay recovery process in Nepal Rescue efforts delay recovery process in Nepal 02:30 PLAY VIDEO Maya might have made it home, to a wrecked village where few houses stood unscathed. She might have lived out her life as a burden to parents who struggle to feed and house their family. She might have suffered rejection, as her father worried, and grown into a woman who no man would marry.

But on the afternoon of May 12, what might have been changed.

A second earthquake rocked the Himalayas, and Maya's life trajectory took yet another turn.

A chance encounter A storm of dust, rocks and houses hurtled down soaring mountains in Nepal's Gorkha District on the day of the first earthquake, as though the place were being bombed. A boulder crushed Maya's left leg.

Almost two days later, she was airlifted to the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu. Doctors said they had no choice but to amputate. When I first met her, Maya was wincing in pain, hot tears streaming down her dusty cheeks.

I sat on her hospital bed over several afternoons and spoke with her father. He lamented that Maya's chances at a normal life had slipped away as fast as the blood had spilled from her body.

After I left Nepal, I tried to stay in touch with Maya's father through journalist Ayush Khadka, who worked with me in Kathmandu. I learned Maya had left the hospital but after that, calls would not go through on her cell phone.

Maya is only 10 but savvy for her age. She knew her life would be difficult after the amputation. Maya is only 10 but savvy for her age. She knew her life would be difficult after the amputation. Unbeknownst to me, Maya and her father had reached the village of ... [Full Story]