JANUARY IS NAMED after the Roman God Janus, who had two faces. One looked ahead, the other behind.
So Jan. 1, which most of the of the world celebrates as New Year’s Day, is a time both for reflecting on past, and anticipating the future.
Canada’s combat role in Afghanistan ended in 2011.
Devasting earthquakes followed by tsunamis and nuclear devastation hit northern Japan, resulting in 20,000 deaths.
Federal NDP leader Jack Layton died.
In Kamloops in 2011, the Western Canada Summer Games took place. The property development at Tobiano fell into receivership. In Kamloops, there were two deaths from illicit drugs that year.
Those were some of the events of 2011.
Now, 10 years later, other events will be remembered by those looking back at 2021.
The Taliban has retaken control of Afghanistan as the U.S. military, as well as some of its NATO partners such as the United Kingdom and Germany, withdrew. The brief period of democracy in Afghanistan ended.
2021 wildfires and flood in British Columbia have left behind tsunami level destruction, though fortunately only a fraction of lives lost compared to the 2011 Japanese earthquake.
Bishop Desmond Tutu, a creator of peace and equality, died.
Despite restrictions, Kamloops continued to host as many sporting events as possible such as the rugby’s Saratoga Cup, and numerous golf championships including PGA of B.C. Senior’s championship.
Tobiano is booming as a place to live.
Sadly, from January to October 2021, 60 people have died from illicit drug use in Kamloops.
Underpinning all of 2021, and year before, the COVID crisis continually forced us to reimagine how we do things. How we work. How we study. How we care for each other and keep ourselves safe.
Every decade has its own challenges and successes.
Who can say what will happen of significance 10 years from now?
There will be natural disasters which will lead to catastrophic losses and likely loss of life.
Dictatorships will fall, while other democracies will emerge.
Great leaders will die, but others will rise to take their place.
There will always be those willing to risk uncertainty to make business decisions that may or may not end up with success.
Whether drug overdoses or pandemics, or other health concerns, there will be some type of healthcare challenge.
New problems keep coming, but in the end, it is not the events themselves, but people, who carry the day.
Here in Kamloops so many groups and individuals have shaped the last 10 years, to put us on a better path for the next 10, both locally and beyond.
For example, Bill Sundhu, human rights lawyer, has gone to Tunisia numerous times to help strengthen their justice system, a foundational part of their democracy. Individuals like Sandra Tully, Jessica Mensinger and others of Addictions Matter Kamloops are pushing for changes locally and nationally to reduce the harm of illicit drugs.
Year after year, volunteers of B.C.’s Emergency Social Services, Canadian Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, Salvation Army, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and others have supported those affected by disasters.
Sports groups have continued to maintain programs, especially for youth, throughout the pandemic. Ron Fawcett of the Kelson Group is just one of many local developers who has shown confidence in the future of the Kamloops’ housing market with ambitious plans for the future.
I’ve heard many who are wishing 2021 to be over because it has been so difficult. But if we cast our eyes back a little further, even 10 years, we can see hope for the future. Not because there won’t be more difficulties ahead, but because of the people who will move through the difficulties towards solutions.
Here’s to the people who got us through the last year, and those who will get us through 2022.
Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.