August 2018 Update from Susan Davis

WRSG Members at YYJ

As Tim Davis wrote on the Westshore Refugee Sponsorship Group Facebook post on May 13th, “There are currently 22.5 million refugees in the world. Last night it was a pleasure to greet 5 who had just become newcomers, their long 7-year ordeal over.”
We have been working with this family for just over 3 months now. We have:
• found an apartment,
• moved in donated household goods,
• stood in lines for ID cards,
• learned some Arabic,
• learned to use Google Translate,
• registered for school,
• registered for ESL,
• taught some ESL while we wait for classes to begin
• enjoyed some delicious home-cooked Syrian meals
• enjoyed a pot-luck Canadian barbeque
• learned some new bus routes
• been to doctors’ appointments
• been to dentist appointments
• and a whole host of other activities.
What a joy to introduce these newcomers to our beautiful city. Time spent at the ocean or at a local park is filled with all the fun and laughter you may expect.
We still have no idea all that the family has been through before arriving on that cool May night. Language skills preclude the ability to communicate about specific details. Perhaps some day we will be able to share our stories – our story of preparation, and their story of leaving – but for now we are learning a new dance of culture and language as we get to know this lovely family.
One of the biggest blessings has been seeing our city and our country through new eyes. We have so much to be thankful for! We have so many opportunities! Another fun blessing has been to see how similar we are – a mom who loves to shop second hand stores, a dad who loves his girls and wants nothing more than to be able to work to provide for them, children who are shy to meet someone new, who love to play at the park, who fight with their sister, and who get grumpy when mom or dad says “No.”
For all of you who have had a part in this sponsorship, thank-you! Thank-you for your generosity; thank-you for helping to make it all happen. For any of you who may be wondering about being part of a sponsorship group yourself, I highly recommend it! Yes, there is hard work, and yes there are disappointments and challenges. But when you take all those and stack them up against one smile from someone who was trapped and is now free – it is all well worth it.
If you want to keep up with our story, we communicate more often on our Facebook page. “Like” it, and you will get notified when something new is posted.