Monday, October 3, 2016

A little update on our delightful young man Bukhare. These photos show him all dressed up and ready to go to Friday prayers at the Mosque. Quite dashing, isn't he? Also, Bukhare loves to iron! He jokingly calls himself "Ironman". Wilna got him all set up to do this and he loves being helpful. Everyone who meets him is impressed by Bukhare's delightful energetic nature and good humour. He has let us know that the spelling of his name on ALL of his documents is incorrect. This is the way they spell the name in Nairobi, but not in Somalia. We will work on trying to get it rectified on his official documents. 

Bukhare has been told his teeth are in excellent condition! No cavities! He is gradually making his way through his doctor and specialist appointments. Unfortunately, it does NOT look hopeful for him to regain any sight, but at least the doctors should be able to reduce the ongoing pain he has in his eyes. 

We had many offers of iPhones, which is wonderful. I have set up his phone with an accessibility feature called VoiceOver, which talks through all of the actions on the iPhone. This is build in to all apple products. It is great, except that it is quite difficult to get used to! Just as much for Bukhare as for the rest of us. All the ways we are used to accessing smart phones are different with use of VoiceOver. The great thing is that Bukhare can hear us getting frustrated with it and know he is not alone! If anyone is trying it, there are three features to use: one tap of the item will what you have tapped. You ALWAYS have to select first with one tap, then a fast double tap selects that item. This means that every item you want requires 3 taps to open that button. Typing is 3 taps per letter/number. The other "gesture" is to swipe the screen in any direction, you use 3 fingers. Sounds easy, but we are remarkably set in our ways with these devices! An additional issue for Bukhare is that he must do all 3 taps in exactly the same spot. If he moves his finger a little, he will not make the selection. He will need a system of figuring out how far from the edge of the phone he needs to hold his finger. Tricky!

A huge thank you to everyone for your ongoing visiting. He loves all of the stimulation and is enjoying getting to know all of his new Canadian Mamas! 

When visiting, a couple of things to keep in mind: Bukhare is a devout Muslim and so he is uncomfortable with touching women. He is now very comfortable with shaking hands and he will take your elbow easily. He may be somewhat standoffish with young women, but he is just being respectful. He also warms up very quickly. Also, he is very afraid of dogs. Since he can't see them approach, this is an extra issue. 


Our family is doing very well. I have found a wonderful Psychologist who will do some educational assessment for Nour and Ibrahim. We are still waiting for Children's Hospital to get them in for their testing their. Because neither one has any diagnosis, this makes retaining services for them in the schools more tricky. Also, as Nour is turning 18 this month (!), she will soon be transitioning to adult services. Without any diagnosis, she cannot access adult funding or the services that are available, such as Community Social Groups and Handidart. We are currently beginning the search for long term housing for our family. We are applying to Co-ops in the area as well as BC Housing. We hope to keep them in the same area of town, in order to keep the kids in the same schools. Said has been getting quite a lot of building work with Raj Hundal, a lovely man who is a plumber and contractor on the north shore. A huge thanks to Raj for all of his support and help in teaching Said how things are done in Canada. 

Said's brother and his family: We are still working on getting their application through the workings of the government. This is NOT an easy matter. The first submission was somehow lost in the system. It was resubmitted, then a month later we received word that they did not like the quality of something in the package, so it has been submitted again. Asmaa and Ahmad (Said's sister-in-law and brother) are feeling very desperate in the refugee camp, but there is not much we can do but wait. 


Saber is our young Iraqi man. We have finally had word that his application has been officially accepted by the Canadian Government. We do not know what this means in terms of timeline, but at least it is working away through the system. He too is frustrated with the wait, but at least we have been able to give him a bit of good news. Joanne has been pushing this forward whenever possible- well done Joanne and our diocesan SAH team! 

Last, but not least, we continue to look forward and continue to raise funds for all of these wonderful people we are helping. Your donations and fund raising efforts are SO appreciated and we are able stretch every dollar because of all the donations and volunteer help we have. 

So far, we have raised......


What an amazing team! 

Of course, we don't want to stop now, we are on a roll and we want to continue to do more as there are so many people who need our help. Our next plan is to help a small family we have identified who are from the Congo. This is Malis Malingo and his two teenaged children. His wife and two other children have disappeared. Malis' older brother Mambo lives here and is ready to manage their settlement. He has also scraped together $6000 to go toward their sponsorship. 

The Saturday is the SASS Refugee Barn Dance. Get your tickets and come on down for some fun and fundraising! 

Very soon, I am planning to put together a Pamper Yourself Evening. Anyone can come and get a haircut, fingernails painted or henna hand treatment by donation. Perhaps we will have a teahouse as well! Stay tuned for details. 

The St. Agnes Gala date has been changed to early February 4 due to ongoing kitchen renovation. This will be an awesome evening with delicious food, live entertainment, and awesome live and silent auctions. Please let me know if you have items to donate to the silent auction or know a business that would be interested in donating. 

Please let me know if there are other fundraisers planned. 

Keep up the great work everyone, you are making a very important difference in the world through REST. We are helping those we can to have a new lease on life. How great is that? 

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