While reading the many recent articles in The NEWS and online relating to homelessness and refugees, I was reminded of my own story.
When I entered Canada as an immigrant in 1971, we were well received. Even though I could not speak English, I tried to make ends meet. This was accomplished by taking on various jobs, much different to those I was used to in the Netherlands, which were all related to heavy equipment sales.
I began working for commission, selling vacuum cleaners. I had a good run on it, however, when it came to closing the deal I was not successful because in Holland I had learned not to depend on credit. Selling vacuum cleaners could only be successful if you adopted that concept. I declined to do that so I decided to work construction labour.
After six weeks, just prior to Christmas, I was laid off. I tried hard to get other employment, but to no avail. However, we were very blessed.
Just a few days before the Christmas celebrations began, we were surprised by Canadian friendship and generosity. Our Christmas was overwhelming in comparison to what we had been used to in Holland. Turkey and all the trimmings, a decorated tree and gifts for all were quietly and secretly delivered to our home.
I still remember that previous to this I had contacted social services in Calgary because we needed financial help. It was a humiliating move, but there were very few questions asked and our daily needs were provided for. As a family, we remember those days of humanitarian generosity and kindness as the best experience of all-time in the worst of circumstances.
I wish that all the refugees and homeless people hopefully can have a similar experience. Let us show with all the goodness in our hearts that we can reach out and make a difference to those who are most needy at this time in their lives.
Ary SalaFanny Bay