In keeping with the theme for National Family Literacy Day, “Travel the World Together,” I want to describe how I travel in my work. As the Community Connections Coordinator, I run programs for immigrants to help them adjust to life in Yellowknife. Often, I learn as much from the participants as they might from me. At Global Cooking, I am in awe as I watch the newcomers prepare delicious food with incredible efficiency. Other times, our discussions may cover religion, politics, or aspects of day to day living in another climate. For example, one night at the Speak English Café, the conversation quickly turned to student uprisings in various countries when one participant noted that it was the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre (June 4, 1989). When I watched the movie Funny Boy with someone from Sri Lanka, where the movie is set, we discussed the movie afterward. The newcomer pointed out that there are always at least two sides to every story.
The interactions that I have with participants during my programs pique my curiosity about their stories. I find myself reading books set in other cultures. It could be a memoir written by a Muslim immigrant about their experiences in Canada and other countries, or a novel set in Nigeria as the European missionaries moved into the country. Some of the movies I watch, for example Slumdog Millionaire, have been recommended by program participants. I have found others on my own by scrolling through options. It is interesting to watch a show set in a different landscape and culture. I watch with an open mind, curious to learn how people in other parts of the world live.
Most countries of the world are represented in Yellowknife. Immigrants pack up and leave their countries, sometimes by choice, sometimes to escape dangerous circumstances. They may come looking for adventure, seeking a better life for themselves and their children, or seeking safety. They may come alone, as a family, or to rejoin their family. Next time you are ordering food in a restaurant, standing at the checkout in a store, or picking up your children from daycare, think about who is serving you. Share your story of how you came to be in Yellowknife and maybe they will share theirs. Travel the world by reading a book, watching a movie, listening to music or cooking food from another culture.
Here is a link to Tastes from Home: Recipes from the Refugee Community to inspire your next meal! https://act.unhcr.ca/page/71880/petition/1?ea.tracking.id=SOC20_UNR_TFH
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