Nancy Rai


Duncan, BC
Current City:
Duncan, BC

Nancy Rai (birth name Naseeb) was born in Duncan, British Columbia, Canada. Her parents were born in India and they used to live in Shawnigan Lake. Nancy’s parents first moved to Canada in 1930 with her older sister who was born in India. Her parents passed away when she was young and so her brother took care of them while growing up in the community of Paldi. Her siblings and her learned how to milk cows and looked after the garden in the summer. Because her sisters were older than her they knew more English than her so when she started grade one she was able to speak both English and Punjabi.

Nancy remembers celebrating Vaisakhi with everyone where they would take a bus and then stay at people’s houses. Nancy used to visit the gurdwara every Sunday or if there was a special occasion such as when someone was getting married. She remembers living in Paldi and her house was near a railway where all the local children used to wave to the people on the train. They would walk to Duncan and all children and ladies would meet by the railway tracks and would walk along the railway tracks to Hillcrest and then the ladies from Mesachie Lake would do the same thing. Nancy also remembers her house had no indoor plumbing and no running water and so for the longest time they would go to the well and bring water home and warm it up on the wood stoves. Her life wasn’t easy but she still kept going and got through. She has children of her own, grandchildren and two great-grandsons. Nancy is pleased to see the generations are going on.