I was due to see Hiba at 3:30 on Friday Dec 2. I met her, Jamal at the social workers for an update meeting. Then we picked up the kids, then went shopping for all the food necessary for the pop up restaurant. We stopped at a shop for vegetables, fruits, herbs, then to a different shop for halal meat. That night Hiba did the vine leaves, and also did the stuffed courgettes which are the most labour intensive. The … Read More “Pop Up Restaurant”
In September I received a phone call from Airbnb asking very strange questions. Where was the condo that we rent out on the Airbnb platform? Where do we actually live? So they are in different cities? I asked her why she was asking and she said she is new to Airbnb, was given this as a task and actually didn’t know why. I answered her questions. About 2 weeks later I received an email from Omar at Airbnb Social Good, … Read More “A Trip to LA”
Our next-door neighbours (Sylvie & Tim) came to eat with us one day. Jamal and Hiba were also over visiting. A few days later Sylvie brought a magazine article talking about restaurants for a day, a movement that is big in Europe. Anyone can cook a meal, invite people in to eat your food and they pay for the privilege. She suggested we do it with Hiba whose food she had tasted just a few days before. Hiba loves the … Read More “Pop Up Restaurant”
Due to a misunderstanding, Hiba and Jamal did not receive the invitation to the French courses. It was sent to the wrong address. The social worker happened to know the course was starting the next day and she called me for the background story, I gave her the Ministry of Immigration number and the ID numbers of Jamal and Hiba and she sorted it out so they are now starting French language courses, full time every day. This is great … Read More “French Language Courses”
I was contacted by Gloria of Global News who had done the original story of them when they first arrived, asking if we could do an update on them. It was set up for Friday Nov 9. I arranged a translator (one of our fundraisers who speaks Arabic), and went to meet Jamal and Hiba at their French classes. Gloria and the photographer met us there and did some recording. They then went to get the kids from daycare, did … Read More “Sunday Meal”
Halloween in 2016 falls on a Monday night. Not ideal since it’s a school night, but we figured we had to get Jamal, Hiba, Ahmed, and Ayham over to experience Halloween on our street that is famous for lots of kids and lots of houses handing out candy. They arrived about 5 pm, I had tried to explain what would happen but with their basic English and my few words of Arabic I don’t think they really understood. It’s something … Read More “First Halloween”
Jamal met another Syrian refugee who arrived after Jamal himself, and already has his Permanent Resident Card. Jamal and Hiba then asked me where is their card? I remember being told by a social worker early in the process that they normally arrive within 12 months so this is not something I had been thinking of or worrying about yet. I then decided to try and figure it out. After a call to several social workers I realised that when … Read More “Permanent Resident Cards”
Jamal has taken the theory driving test 3x. He failed all 3 modules twice, but on his last trip passed 2 modules. So he will take just the final module next. They offer the test in Arabic which I didn’t know! His friend who failed 6x has given him a book to study to help him. The social worker from their old area told me he has referred their file to the new area.
We found out Jamal and Hiba will not be offered a full time French course from the government until November. So in the meantime I have found them an adult education centre where they are taking beginner English classes every morning. They are very excited to be in school and learning. They have found a new garderie for the boys so things are falling into place. Hiba now has her own phone which is great for her
We have been to their pool several times while it has been so hot. Hiba only would dip her feet as she didn’t have the right clothes. One day Jamal surprised her by buying her a burkini! She is so happy! Now she can swim with us.