Last month

Central Albertans help to rebuild a battered country

Beverly Williams was in a hotel room in Nepal when the swaying began. It wasn’t totally unexpected because she’d felt some building movement triggered by the construction next door. But there were no workers at their jobs this time.

Beverly Williams was in a hotel room in Nepal when the swaying began.

It wasn’t totally unexpected because she’d felt some building movement triggered by the construction next door. But there were no workers at their jobs this time.

“I’m thinking it’s moving and nobody’s working right now — what’s happening?

“Then, all of a sudden, the room is moving.”

Williams quickly made her way outside where others were gathering, alarmed at what turned out to be the effects of an earthquake in far-away Burma. The last time Williams had felt an earthquake in Nepal, it was much closer, devastatingly stronger, and almost took her life.

Her guide, Har, a man who became a close friend, helped walk her to safety amid the destruction caused by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake on April 25, 2015. The devastating natural disaster killed 9,000, injured 23,000 and left tens of thousands homeless.

Among those whose homes were destroyed was Har, who lived in a rural area near Gorkha with his wife and three children.

Last month, Williams returned with donations from Central Albertans willing to help the Nepalese rebuild their country and their lives.

Williams said despite her prior traumatic brush with natural disaster, she remained calm in her hotel room on this trip. “I was OK,” she says.

The rebuilding work is well underway in many of the hard-hit areas of Nepal, but it remains a battered country. A hotel she stayed in on her last visit still doesn’t have running water.

However, she could see new pipelines being laid in the street of the capital Kathmandu and there was visible progress in many other areas.

Williams provided money to Har to use in any way he needed. It’s not the first help Har has gotten. Williams’ daughter Janvier visited last September and brought with her donations raised locally.

He used that to fix up a home for his mother.

Williams also brought a suitcase full of books for the school, where she took refuge after she hiked down from the mountains towards safety.

“A lot of the kids recognized me.”

She asked if they remembered her crying, and they had not forgotten the scared and emotional Canadian who had appeared among them to spend the night.

The books were donated by the Sylvan Lake library and were happily received along with some sports equipment she managed to pack.

Life for many has not been easy since the earthquake and its aftershocks.

“It’s still pretty hard there,” she says. “There are not as many people taking tours.”

Guiding and accommodating tourists had contributed a significant amount to the nation’s economy.

In Kathmandu, the signs of rebuilding are everywhere. Work crews can be seen all around the city replacing water mains cracked and split by the earthquake.

“There’s a lot of rubble all over Kathmandu,” she says.

Visiting Har again was uplifting.

“It was fabulous.” Searching for the words to describe their connection, she says, “We’re just close.

“He basically realizes that if I had not hurt my leg he would have been gone.”

Har had been guiding Williams on a walking tour through Langtang National Park when she pulled a muscle in her leg. Reluctantly, she decided to turn back and was on a bus heading to Kathmandu when the earthquake hit.

One of the hardest hit areas was the town of Langtang, where she would have been had she kept walking.

On this latest trip, Williams met a photojournalist, who showed her photos of what she had missed. A landslide had brought down a two- to three-km wide swath of mountainside. It buried a river and slammed into the community below.

The Nepalese are rebuilding but the earthquake is never far from their minds. It is a day that has become a tragic mile post.

“People still stop and ask each other, where were you?”

Just Posted

One strong wind leaves years of replanting work for Red Deer parks staff

High visibility boulevards already replanted, neighbourhood work starts next year

Red Deer-area indigenous filmmakers invited to apply for $20,000 grant

Storyhive launches Indigenous Storyteller Edition

Restaurant closed after compliance team patrol

Public Safety Compliance Team checked eight bars and restaurants on Oct. 19

Red Deerians await local cannabis stores

So far 31 stores in Alberta awarded licence to operate

Rimbey RCMP seek missing man with health concerns

Has anyone seen Bill Harris of Ponka County?

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Sundin not surprised Leafs asking stars to take less money to stay together

TORONTO — Mats Sundin isn’t surprised the Toronto Maple Leafs are asking… Continue reading

Anywhere but Washington: Why DC stories rarely film in DC

WASHINGTON — It’s a hobby among District of Columbia locals: Picking apart… Continue reading

‘Halloween’ scares up $77.5 million in ticket sales

LOS ANGELES — Forty years after he first appeared in theatres, Michael… Continue reading

iPhone XR makes the right trade-offs for a cheaper price

NEW YORK — Apple offers you a simple trade-off with its new… Continue reading

BMW to recall 1.6 million vehicles worldwide over fire risk

FRANKFURT — Automaker BMW says it is expanding a recall to cover… Continue reading

Calgary awaits federal financing on 2026, Notley suggests IOC could pay more

CALGARY — With the clock ticking towards a Calgary vote on hosting… Continue reading

Toronto Mayor John Tory cruises to victory; tech issues extend voting elsewhere

Toronto Mayor John Tory easily won re-election on Monday after a spirited… Continue reading

Local Sports: Rudy Soffo valuable to Kings on the court

When Rudy Soffo first saw the RDC basketball Kings roster he was… Continue reading

Most Read