Update on our 2nd family & a call for volunteer drivers

Teaching our newcomer family how to enjoy the winter weather

We are approaching the three-month mark since the Mukumba family arrived in Saugeen Shores. It’s been a busy few weeks, getting the kids settled in school and the parents attending ESL (English as a second language) classes in Owen Sound. Their English has improved drastically, and already we can have basic conversations that were previously impossible without the aid of Google translate or our amazing translators Amir and Des. It’s a good feeling for all!

Pleased with their new digs

The family has a rented home in Port Elgin, furnished entirely through donations from the community. Thanks to everyone who helped out with that, as well as painting, cleaning, and assembling furniture. Their home is centrally located, making it easy for them to walk wherever they need to go, although they’re not terribly impressed by the snow. They’re remarkably diligent about shovelling out the driveway, however, but bewildered as to how we all function in such bitter cold. (I must say, I wonder the same thing on occasion!)

sledding 2
Sledding at Eastwood Park, Dec. 2017

We spent a very fun afternoon sledding at Eastwood Park a few weeks ago. The kids were adorable; they couldn’t get enough of the fast runs and snow jumps at the bottom. They have also expressed amazement at the enormous lake, wondering at the fact that there are no crocodiles, or “Hakuna mamba!” as we’ve learned to say in Swahili.

The family is involved with a local church community, which has been a wonderful social outlet for them, and some of the kids are playing indoor soccer on a weekly basis.

If you would like to help, we desperately need volunteer drivers to take them to ESL. It’s been a struggle to fill all the gaps, and with the new season beginning, we’re losing some of our regular drivers. Whether it’s a single way between Port Elgin and Owen Sound, or both ways once a week, we can work with whatever availability you may have. Morning pickups are at 8:40 in Port Elgin, and class ends at 1 p.m. in Owen Sound, 5 days a week. Please let us know if you can help in any way, even if it’s just occasional.

I cannot stress enough how important this is. Without volunteer drivers, the two parents are unable to attend ESL classes in Owen Sound, and without English their chances for success at employment and education in Canada are greatly limited. So, please, if you’ve always wanted to get involved in volunteer work but haven’t known where to start, this is a place where your efforts will be greatly appreciated and put to good use.

We’d also like to take everyone skating and are looking for used skate donations — boy size 5, girl size 1, two girls size 7.5, and men’s 8.5. Please let us know if you have any. You can email saugeen.refugeefund@gmail.com or reach out on our Facebook page.