The spirit of volunteerism is shining through the darkest moments in Zhouqu. More than 5,000 volunteers are now working in the devastated county to help affected residents and their families. CCTV reporter Wang Guan met three Tibetan Buddhist monks who are doing all they can to help others.
Ga Cai and Gengsong Kezhu apologized for being late saying "we should have got here earlier to help."
These Buddhist monks come from Yushu County in Qinghai Province. Just four months ago, they themselves were victims of a devastating earthquake and were on the receiving end of help. Now, they are trying to give back.
Eight days after the mudslide, Zhouqu County is still struggling. Heavy machines are everywhere, sorting through piles and piles of debris. At the same time, local residents anxiously search for bodies of their missing relatives so at least they can give them a proper burial.
Sharing the anguish, the Buddhist monks have come to help the affected families find the remains of their loved ones.
Ga Cai, volunteer from Qinghai said, "We saw on television that the mudslide struck this county hard. So I wanted to help those people in need. There is only so much I can do, but I will try my best. I also have friends at monasteries not far from here, I can ask them to come here if the locals need us."
After two hours of non-stop digging, they found the body of a villager. According to their Tibetan Buddhist beliefs, they chant for the transmigration of the perished, so that in the next life, that person will begin again in another world.. one without pain or sorrow.
Kezhu and his friends also understand and respect Han traditions.
After learning that the vast majority of residents in this village are ethnic Han, they tailored their services to be more in line with that of the locals' own culture and customs.
After several failed attempts to identify a body, Kezhu went to the county's disaster relief center and requested the help of forensic doctors. The doctors claim they should be able to find the relatives soon.
Mission completed for the mourning, these volunteers can breathe a sign of relief.
Gengsong Kezhu, volunteer from Qinghai said, "No matter if the person is ethnic Han or ethnic Tibetan, they are our fellow people. We brought some Tibetan food and some cash. I hope it will be enough to help local people."
Kezhu and his two friends traveled two days and two nights to get to Zhouqu and settled in this tent that can barely accommodate the three of them.
They do not possess any profound philosophical explanation for why they've given so much. They say they simply listen to their heart and follow what it says.