Saturday, December 26, 2015

New Canadians

This will be quick, because it's late at night, and it's been a long day: our sponsored family arrived in Canada this afternoon, and are now at home in their new apartment.  A long day for us, but a much longer one for them, waking up in Lebanon and traveling through Jordan and then on to Toronto, a city they had never imagined living in, a city whose name they were just learning to pronounce.  We are working on the old Torontonian thing of taking it down to 2 syllables: "Tranna".  Tomorrow we can work on the new Torontonian thing of calling it the 6.  (And the winner in the category "Best name of a Canadian refugee Sponsorship Group" is: Syria to the 6.)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Damascan impressions Part 2

Here are some pictures taken during a 2009 trip to Damascus, the city where the family we sponsor comes from. These are meant to provide glimpses of how thriving, utterly beautiful, and welcoming the city was before the war.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Moving in with Minister McCallum

Previous landlord: a tent?  Multi-page rental application forms are never terrific fun to fill out, and working on behalf of a family of six with no local credit history really takes things up a notch. Nevertheless there was some sporting fun in checking out the various prospects, and discovering that we were scared of some places, and other places were scared of us. Toronto apartments, it turns out, aren't very plentiful, and aren't very big: you need to be ready to pounce at the beginning of the month when departing tenants give notice, and for six people, you need to seek out the elusive three-bedroom, or its perhaps mythical cousin, the two-bedroom not capped at five occupants. Many rules about signatures, credit history and occupancy stand between refugees and housing that will work for them, and private sponsors may find themselves enjoying the samurai challenge of seeking out those soft spots where these rules have some flex.