By: Frank Green
Christian Blixrud arrived in Nepal four months ago to volunteer. He worked in an orphanage, taught English, and did construction, anything to help out.
And then, in late April, a powerful earthquake struck.
“The whole place started shaking like a plane was flying right overhead,” Blixrud wrote.
“And everything went crazy.”
The first earthquake has killed more than 8,000 people, according to Nepal’s National Emergency Operations Center. A second rattled the mountainous nation on Monday night, and has already killed dozens.
Most of Blixrud’s fellow volunteers left the country shortly after the disaster, but he chose to stay on, humping heavy packs to help people in remote places.
Blixrud, 19, described some of the “obliterated” places he has seen, including one where there was “nothing, nothing at all,” he wrote. “Just flat pieces of stone crushed into the ground scattered with wood and other debris.”
He’s helped to distribute supplies, and taken stock of dead and injured people. And he’s had doubts about whether he could make a difference.
“I wished I wasn’t there you could see it in the people’s faces that the amount of food we brought was laughable,” he wrote. “Maybe enough to feed one family for three or four days.”
But then he’s also participated in “amazing” work. Blixrud said his colleagues made “miracles” happen, including the rescue of a pregnant woman with a military helicopter.
“When I wasn’t hiking I was helping distribute literals tonnes of food to villagers. As I’m writing this I’ve only been in camp for 6 days but I’ve done more than I could have ever imagined.”
This is all from a teenager who’d hardly traveled outside of a trip to Disney World, said his mother, Tania Blixrud.
“He just felt that need to see more of the world and spread his wings a bit,” Blixrud said. “He thought that there must be more out there, and people to help.”
Blixrud has attended McBride’s Seventh Day Adventist Church, and said the people there helped instill in him a feeling that he had a “responsibility to think of others.” And they supported him in his ambition to volunteer abroad.
Pat Andrews, the head elder at the Church, spoke highly of Blixrud.
“He is a very compassionate and serious minded young man,” Andrews said. “He’s just a really good kid.”
If you’d like to donate, Blixrud has worked with an organization called Nana’s House.
Tania Blixrud said she expects Christian will fly home later this month, and allowed that it’s been “stressful” having him gone. But she’s proud of her son, who’s outdoorsiness was groomed on hikes up Lucille Mountain and camping out on the back of his family’s property on Westlund Road—“but not anything on the scale of what he’s done since,” Tania Blixrud said.
“He’s going to have a lot of stories when he gets back.”