Paramedic Ginette Traversy returns to earthquake-ravaged Nepal after frustrating wait

Well before an earthquake devastated Nepal last year, Ginette Traversy lived there in a small village and taught first aid. She hoped to go back to help out but was stymied for many months by a political crisis and a border blockade — until now.

Quebecer taught first aid in village that was later hit by disaster, but hasn't been able to return

When an earthquake hit Nepal last year, Adrienne Arsenault met a Canadian woman there determined to help. Adrienne caught up with her one year later -- and she's still helping. 5:03

It's been a long year, for Quebec paramedic Ginette Traversy, of waiting for the right time to return to Nepal.

The 12 months since last year's devastating earthquake have seen a constitutional crisis followed by a months-long border blockade by India. It made the logistics of going there too difficult for Traversy, a woman with long ties to the country.

Well before the earthquake, she spent time living in the village of Lanagol, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, where she taught residents first aid. Then, after the magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit on April 25, 2015, killing close to 9,000 people, CBC documented her emotional visit to the village. Traversy was desperate to help and paid her own way.

Her son  set up a Go Fund Me page last year in hopes of raising $500 for Lanagol. In the end, the site brought in $22,000. And ever since, Traversy has been looking for the right time to return to see how she could disburse the money.

Before last year's earthquake, Quebec paramedic Ginette Traversy lived for a time in Lanagol, Nepal, teaching first aid. She returned last April to help with disaster relief but hasn't been able to get back since, until now. (CBC)

In the interim, she sent $3,000 to pay for half the cost of the village's new generator. But she is now, finally, back in Lanagol and taking stock of the rebuilding, as well as looking for ways to help.

"I didn't expect it to be so much temporary shelters," Traversy said of the rebuilding effort. 

Residents of Lanagol have built different styles of temporary housing after the earthquake ravaged most of the village's 35 homes. (CBC)

 She's meeting with the village elder to determine the best way to spend the money she raised.

"It's community living here, so the challenge here is that I cannot just go around and give something to somebody," Traversy said. "Everything has to be split evenly."

The plan is to spend the money on a water system, but the village first has to meet to collectively endorse the idea.

For CBC correspondent Adrienne Arsenault's full report, watch the video above.

Reconstruction of homes in Nepal has been all but stalled as the government sorts out how to build earthquake-resistant houses and who to subsidize. So most affected people have been living in temporary shelters. (CBC)


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