Early one morning, after a meeting of the Syrian Refugee Committee of Mississippi Mills (SRCMM), we received a call from someone I respect as a ‘doyenne’ of Mississippi Mills. Someone who, I am sure, everyone has met or at the very least heard of. Some one who has a deep social and philanthropic history in our community.
She called to say that she had heard that Arnie and I are involved with trying to bring Syrian refugees to Mississippi Mills and to offer her support. She told us of the time when she and her husband, along with their church group and members of the greater community, worked hard to bring Vietnamese Boat People here. She spoke of the incredible effort and time it took, the challenges of resettlement, language, education. But more importantly she spoke of the great gifts that family of 6 gave back to the community and indeed Canada. She said that now, after all these years both of the parents have passed away, but the children still keep in contact with her and “they have wonderful visits” when they return. Proof of gifts given and received.
There are many images and stories of hardship and indeed horror surrounding the current refugee crisis. From the conversations and meetings over the last weeks, I know that our community does not need to ponder these images in order to harness our energies and gifts and step up to challenges of welcoming and supporting families from Syria to Mississippi Mills. As was said at our last SRCMM meeting – it is time go to press the GO button and get down to work!
By way of interest it seems the Vietnamese family of 6 began their life in Canada in a small apartment above, what is now, Don’s Meat Market. Let’s make the ‘doyenne’ and her peers proud of the efforts our modern day community can muster and work hard to offer Syrian families new beginnings.
With thanks and gratitude to all.
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