On April 14, when a wave of violent shakes woke Ma Xiaoqin from her sleep, the terrified Sichuan native thought to herself: 'I didn't die in Mianyang ; am I to die here in Yushu ?' Ma, 42, said that two years ago, when the Sichuan earthquake struck, she did not even realise what it was. At the time, a construction project was being carried out next to the family home and Ma thought the noise and crumbling masonry was caused by workers drilling. 'I was about to run out and yell at them when I realised everyone was in the street screaming and my own building was swaying from side to side,' Ma said. Luckily she and her family all escaped in time. They lived in a tent near a highway for a month. Ma then moved to the town of Jiegu where her husband Li Xiaobing , 43, had gone several months earlier, scouting for work. He missed the disaster back home. For the past two years the couple have operated a successful business selling mahjong machines in the Tibetan-populated region. 'You'd be surprised how many Tibetans like to play Sichuan mahjong,' Ma said. But the second quake in her life damaged their home and their shop and drove them out onto the street. For three days they lived in a public square without a tent or proper food. Tibetan volunteers distributing relief goods refused to give them their share and told them to go to the Civil Affairs Department for help. 'Where can we find a Civil Affairs Department official in this post-quake chaos?' said Ma, tears filling her eyes when recalling those days, 'which words could not describe'. It was cold at night, scorching in the day, and very dusty. The two got sunburned and joke that they now look like the average Tibetan. They do, however, consider themselves very blessed. After the quake struck they broke a hole in their door and climbed out of their second-storey home to safety. They initially tried to escape through the window, hanging off a big advertising board, but they gave up after realising how far they were off the ground. On the fourth day after the quake, after installing a small generator in the square so that people could recharge their phones, several reporters from Hunan stopped by and invited the couple to share their tent that night. 'We tried to help people where we could, and we were helped in turn,' Li said. Many reporters working in Jiegu soon got to know the couple, who created a work station complete with generator and extension cords, light bulbs, sun umbrellas, table and chairs, and makeshift kitchen where Ma made hot meals for the hungry. The couple moved all the things one by one from their half-collapsed shop. Ma said one of the strongest feelings she had when comparing what happened after the two quakes was how things were more chaotic and difficult in Yushu. 'We really felt like outsiders and there was no one to look out for us,' she said. 'I get along with a lot of Tibetans because not many people here know how electrical wires and appliances work, and I often helped them when they had problems. 'However, after the quake, it's only Han people who have helped and looked after us. The Tibetans have big families and they often work together when getting relief goods. If even the weaker Tibetans couldn't get hold of the relief goods, what hope was there for us Han?' But post-quake Sichuan had its problems too. The county government had promised compensation to every family, but so far only those living in the countryside had received any money; the couple and their neighbours in town had yet to receive anything. On Thursday the couple - and reporters depending on them for meals other than instant noodles and biscuits - received some bad news. The government building on the ground where they pitched their tent was due for demolition and they would have to move. 'What can we do? We'll just have to pack and find another spot to station ourselves until reconstruction starts,' Li said. They said they could not leave town because their stock, unlike food and other perishable goods, could not be sold at a time like this. They could only continue to wait.