Project Welcome

Ayham is Turning 3!

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Hiba had called me during the week and reminded me that Ayham’s birthday is Feb 10. He is turning 3 years old! This will be his first birthday in Canada. We agreed that she would bake a cake and bring it over to our house on Saturday Feb 11. Jamal had chicken marinating and he made shawarma for us, special bread folded with home made mayo, pickles and the delicious chicken. It was yummy! Then we sang happy birthday to … Read More “Ayham is Turning 3!”

Cooking Lessons

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The pop up restaurant in December was a real success. Two of our staff who attended asked if they could setup a date to have private cooking lessons with Hiba.  This was arranged for Feb 4. Hiba came early in the afternoon and she and Karl did all the shopping. Then Bre and Morgan arrived at 3pm, cooking commenced, partners turned up at 6pm to eat all the lovely food.  We had lots of jokes and laughing during the afternoon.  … Read More “Cooking Lessons”

20 Days

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Since we have met Jamal and Hiba this is definitely the longest we have gone without seeing each other.  We were away for 20 days from mid December.  Most days Hiba and I would text through WhatsApp – at least whenever I could find wifi we did. We were due to arrive back to Montreal on Jan 3. Hiba phoned me that day but we were in transit, in an airport in Denver. I said I will call you tomorrow! … Read More “20 Days”

Pop Up Restaurant

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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”

A Trip to LA

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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”

Pop Up Restaurant

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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”

French Language Courses

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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”

Sunday Meal

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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”

First Halloween

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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”

Permanent Resident Cards

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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”