A Place to Call Home
By: Celine Ho
How many of us take pleasure in living in Vancouver? Or more simply, who lives in a place they call home? A place that shelters them from harsh cold weather and a place that brings forth laughter and smiles from something as simple as family; or simply put, a place we can call home. I assume most of us students have that pleasure, a pleasure we take for granted every single day. Why is it something we take for granted when it's one of the most basic human needs? I'm not even talking about education or free health care. I'm just talking about having a home to live in. Most of us think that's so basic a need we do not even think twice about it. Yet, thousands of refugees from Syria are increasing in number due to the Syrian war.
So, what can we do about it? There are many different ways to reach out and help. You can act charitably and support associations that raise funds to help these refugees. Whether it's to help rebuild their broken homes or help them move elsewhere, there are many things we can do to help. If you don’t have time to volunteer, giving a small sum will help.
For me, I was able to volunteer at my church to bring a refugee family of three to our parish. We spent months preparing, raising funds for food and the welcoming party. Because for us, it wasn't just saving them from a suffering country.
Imagine being forced out of your homes, from the place you call home. Your own country betrays you, and you're all alone with nowhere to go. If you're lucky, you still have your family to be with. Unlucky, you end up alone.
With this in mind, we spent what others would call “unnecessary” to create an atmosphere of welcome and joy. So when the family of three came from the airport, we greeted them with smiles and love. We created a new daycare in our parish center just so the children in our community could mingle with the refugee children. We hosted numerous welcome events and fundraisers.
This experience put a huge value on my own home. I am so proud of where I am and where I belong, and I am grateful to be able to be sheltered under a good house with good company. I give thanks everyday, and I remember those refugees. I may have helped to welcome a few, but I wish I could urge more refugees to come to Canada. I wish I could tell the world what a rewarding satisfaction it gave our church community.
While I was studying for my major in education, I managed to use what skills I knew and put them into good use at the volunteer daycare. I did not get paid, but what I learned from the valuable experience was worth so much more than paper bills. Once the children from Syria warmed up to us, they shared wonderful experiences of their life back in Syria. It was amazing to hear them tell us about things we never would have imagined to do on our own streets. The volunteer workers and I spent a lot of time at this daycare not only because we were obligated by a given schedule we had agreed upon, but more so because we wanted to be there to hear what the children had to share. To see them smile when they saw us walk towards them and have their eagerness and willingness reflect back from us. Their willingness to learn new things and adapt so easily made me think about my own experiences and how I could take what I learn from them to input it into my own life. In other words, sometimes I think they taught me more than I taught them.
The most important thing to take away from this is to be aware of those who are suffering from loss of such basic human needs. While we may be hesitant in giving, try to see life in their perspective before turning our backs. In the end, we might even be the benefactors. Since we all live on the same land, helping one another is always beneficial. When we already have enough, maybe it is time to give.