Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 31, 2002
Welcoming hosts ease culture shock
By RENATO GANDIA
"They're part of our family and we're part of their family."
- John Herman
"Even though we've got different religions, we belong to the same (human) family. There is not a whole bunch of difference between the two of us. They're part of our family and we're part of their family."
Both families agree, "there's only one God," said John.
Ali's parents, Sakhi and Halima are still going through the language hurdle. Neither spoke English when they came to Canada.
"But they go to school and they are learning," said the soft-spoken Ali.
Ali's only sister is married and still in Afghanistan along with their two uncles and their children.
Family is important to them, but they had to leave Afghanistan because their life there was uncertain.
"Canada is a peace-loving country. I see a bright future for me and my family in Canada," Ali said.
"My hope is that we settle more in Canada and get a more comfortable life: My younger brothers to get a better education."
While learning English, Halima is volunteering in an Afghani mini-school in the city.
Halima, who worked as a midwife aide in an Afghanistan, said with her son acting as interpreter, "I am happy with my life in Canada. I'm hoping for the best. I want to learn more English."
Sakhi, an operating room technician in his homeland, says he is thankful they met the Hermans.
Both John and Mary Ellen have no greater hope for their new friends than that they settle in Canada and become adjusted to their new life.
"I hope that at some point they would be able to move from their little townhouse because they're used to living in great big homes with big yards," added Mary Ellen.
Rena Chiovelli, coordinator of the Host Program, told the WCR the agency needs more volunteer families so it can meet the demands from the community.
To volunteer, visit www.catholicsocialservices.ab.ca, or call (780) 424-3545.
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