Le Centre de services communautaires chinois d’Ottawa est tellement heureux de s’être joint à la table sectorielle sur la santé et le bienêtre du PLIO. Il est clair…

Wendy Tang, Centre de services communautaires chinois d’Ottawa
Le PLIO contribue à regrouper et à partager des ressources limitées en maximisant l’effet d’une approche collective dans le domaine de l’enseignement.

Walter Piovesan
Directeur adjoint en éducation, Ottawa Carleton District School Board
J’ai été heureuse de voir une programmation relative à l’intégration du territoire algonquin et à la culture autochtone dans le cadre de la SAO 2014. Veuillez…

Linda Manning
Agrégée supérieure, Université d'Ottawa
Nous sommes très heureux d’avoir réalisé le rapport Le cout de renonciation de ne pas investir dans les services d’interprétariat – c’est tellement important de…

Hindia Mohamoud, directrice, PLIO
Le Conseil du PLIO est déterminé à jouer un rôle de premier plan. En quelques années, nous avons mis de l’avant une vision et des priorités communes, et nous en sommes…

Salimatou Diallo
Vice-président, Conseil du PLIO;, Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario
Notre partenariat avec le PLIO est d’importance cruciale pour assurer la réussite de nos clients. La participation du PLIO a dynamisé nos projets.

Ying Xie
Gestionnaire, Ottawa Chinese Community Services Centre
La SAO permet aux participants de sentir qu’ils font partie de la collectivité et elle permet à la collectivité d’améliorer sa capacité d’attraction et de rétention…

Caroline Andrew
Prefesseur, Université d'Ottawa
Les immigrants sont essentiels pour Ottawa. Il est crucial de reconnaître leur contribution à notre vitalité culturelle et économique.

Jessica Brichta
Le Conference Board du Canada
Historiquement, les immigrants ont toujours joué un rôle important à Ottawa. Ils participent à notre prospérité économique, diversifient notre culture et contribuent…

Jim Watson
Maire d'Ottawa
Je suis très impressionnée par le niveau d’énergie et l’engagement des intervenants autour de la table et j’ai hâte de prolonger la collaboration entre le PLIO et…

Marcela Tapia
Santé publique d’Ottawa

Étranger au pays – Stranger in the Land

May 26, 2014

Le blog est dans la langue dans laquelle l’auteur nous l’a transmise.

Par Pamela George

Packing your bags, bidding goodbye to friends, family and the mores you have known until then, and pitching your tent in a faraway country where everything is alien to you, is surely one of life’s most daunting challenges. Talk to any immigrant to Canada – recent arrivals or old-timers – they will have a story or an anecdote of a Canadian friend or a neighbour who lent a helping hand. This help could have been as simple as showing how to start a lawn-mower or how to lace up skates, or it could involve being a mentor, enabling them to make a successful transition to life here.

In my own early immigrant days, a number of people helped us, in both big and small ways. For example, we heard that a physician at a local health care centre was looking for new patients while chatting to a complete stranger at a bus stop. This tip that a kind stranger passed on helped us find a family physician within a few months of arriving as new immigrants to Canada. We still hang on to her for dear life!

Our neighbours, two elderly sisters in their 80’s, often invited us to their house and over a coffee and some baked goodies, gave us insights into life in Ottawa. They advised us not to let the kids play in the grass (those were the days when pesticides were still widely used), and which grocer to visit to get the best fresh produce. Their son found the time to take us skating on the Rideau Canal and introduced us to that wonderful Ottawa treat – Beavertails.

Who can forget the kindness of those who gave us rides when we needed them, gave us tips on job searches, invited us to their homes and introduced us to Canadian cuisine? We had arrived friendless and with no family in Canada. I am sure that none of these individuals who helped us thought they were doing anything extraordinary. But by their simple act of reaching out, they made an enormous difference to our immigrant journey. It helped us feel at home (“acculturate”) a lot faster and prevented us from retreating into an ethnic silo.

Such bonds forged in the early days of immigration are most often for life. Ottawa-based artist Barbara Gamble once shared with me how she housed two refugee families for several weeks in her house when they first arrived. The grateful families have stayed in touch with her for more than 20 years.

When I heard that WOW 2014 was planning to celebrate the hospitality that makes Canada a great place to immigrate, I was thrilled. I have so many people who I would love to celebrate. It would be a really hard choice to pick just one person who made a difference to my life. I commend this initiative by the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP) to recognize the vital role that a community plays in welcoming the stranger in the land. Welcoming communities need both generous hosts and eager newcomers: it’s a two-way street.

WOW 2014 is looking forward to hearing your story. We would like to hear about one individual who made a difference to your immigrant journey when you first arrived in Canada. It could be your neighbour, your teacher, your landlord, your colleague, your pastor or a perfect stranger who made a world of difference. Submit your story before June 12th and you could be chosen as a WOW ambassador along with your nominee.

Pamela George est une spécialiste en communications et rédactrice basée à Ottawa. Suivez son blogue à l’adresse http://immigranthealthcanada.blogspot.ca/