“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Some moments in life change us. It can be one thing that turns everything upside down. Most of the stories you hear about refugees come from the adults who experienced terrifying moments in their lives, being forced to leave everything behind with no opportunity, no hope, and no future.
But have you ever listened to that same story from their child’s perspective? Often kids do not have the opportunity to talk about leaving their own country, their traditions, family, friends, or even food. Yet this is the reality many don’t have a say as they flee with their families in hopes of a new future. Staying alive while waiting for something to live for.
Being the Director of Settlement at Naomi House I experience the joy of seeing children coming to their new country with a toy in their hand, and big smiles on their face at the airport. After long flights and tough good-bye’s, leaving behind their soccer balls, dolls, friends, favourite jammies or blankets, and yet so content with the new stuffie they receive from their sponsors. The new candies may not taste familiar, the cereal might be different, some discover chocolate hazelnut spread, or a new action figure, or game. They won’t tell you a story but you can see it through them.
There is nothing I find more rewarding than seeing those faces at the airport and later on seeing them walking with their parents to their new school. Eyes wide open, the expectation of new friends, picking up new lunch boxes and backpacks at the store, and waiting for the new adventure. Attending school is a dream come true to learn Math, science or go to gym class.
The kids were anxious to begin school in each of the families we resettled, they didn’t want to recover from jetlag, they just wanted to go to school. Even at their young age, they know that they might face challenges, and yet here they are taking it all in, exploring, dreaming. Eating snow for the first time, picking up their favorite snow boots, and asking you to show them where the nearest park is, and if there will be kids to play with there.
They are not just another refugee kid, they are children who were forced for different reasons to grow up too soon and they are taking the chance to not just stay alive but they are discovering that there are hundreds of reasons to live for.
They are not just another refugee kid, the Bible declares: “You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you”.
Psalms 8:2. He, the one who chooses the weak to shame the ones who seems mighty. To Him be glory and Honor and thanks for letting us see His wonders.
Would you be a part of the amazing journey of coming alongside a family as they resettle in Winnipeg, giving their kids a safe place to restart their lives?
Some of these kids will never remember the refugee camps, their old friends, or even their mother tongue but they will always remember who helped them make Canada their home.