Friday, 19 September 2014

A Better Life

It's been a very busy morning here in my apartment, with home care sending three people to see me, to care for me, each with their own mission and responsibilities. First the home care worker who was to help me with exercises arrive, along with a supervisor to ensure she could do the exercises properly. This is exactly the right thing to do, as many home care workers are exposed only to a limited subset of the exercises needed to keep my leg muscles from stiffening and contracting.

About a half our after the first two arrived, another young lady arrived to take care of my housekeeping; she is my substitute Rosa. She headed right into the kitchen, and while her process is not what mine would be, she is doing that which needs to be done in order to make my home tidy and livable.

What is interesting is that all three of these women are from East Africa, two from Eritrea and the third from Ethiopia. One of the other women who comes in periodically to provide me with home care is also from East Africa, from Somalia. The three women today were all surprised to see one another; they all work for the home care agency but had no idea that they were all from the same region and all spoke the same languages.

This is a fascinating country of ours, where immigrant groups come at different times, diasporic and seeking a safe place for a new life, only to discover that others from their "old country" are have joined them. Here they can settle in a diverse country free from the threat of war or rebellion. Here they can raise a family and plan for a future, free from the violence they left behind. I love the fact that we have this diverse ethnic polygot in Canada; we gain much more than we lose from most immigration.

This is not to say it's all rosy and good. Some of these new immigrants bring the intolerance, hatreds and mistrusts with them that they are attempting to escape by coming here. Many come with little or nothing and are compelled by circumstance to work in low paying jobs, often both husband and wife working while children attend day-care or school.

Of course it is never an easy thing being an immigrant with limited resources. Yet these people will work, and work hard, to build not just their own future, but that of their children and their communities. We hear so much about those immigrants who seek to perpetuate the dissonance of their homeland; we hear so little of those who come, work, pay their taxes, raise their children.

I've met three women like this today, women who have given up much to be here, women who are working hard for their families, working hard to make a better life for themselves, and for me too.

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