A House Of Friendship For All Nations

by

House of Friendship believes strongly in housing as a right

Today I am fortunate to share a story from Colin our Maintenance Director. He recently had the following reflections to share about his experience working at House of Friendship:

One the coolest and my most favourite parts of my job is the diversity I get to experience serving in my role here.

I am very fortunate to be able to spend time in all areas of the organization and see first-hand all of the great work we do and connect with so many of the fantastic people we have serving with us. I realize this is quite a privilege that not everyone gets to experience. Sometimes my work takes me to places and situations I would have never guessed getting up that morning that I would get to see. I want to share one of those stories and moments with you.

Two weeks ago I got a request to replace the mailbox over at a building House of Friendship owns. What most people might not know about this building is that there is a refugee family from Syria now living there. I arrived on the Friday with a new mailbox and knocked on the door. The father, answered the door and greeted me with a smile. He doesn’t speak any English yet at all so it took some creative gesturing between the both of us for me to figure out where the new mailbox would be installed but we figured each other out. I got my tools out and together we hung the new mailbox, it was helpful to have an extra set of hands. When I was done, the father gestured towards his mouth as if to take a sip of a drink and simply asked “Chai?”. The entire time I was on the porch working on the mailbox, there was a precious looking young girl, maybe 2 years old peeking through the blinds and giggling away. Since I love tea, and love playing with kids even more, I happily obliged and was invited inside for a cup of tea.

Inside I got to meet the mother of the family, and three of their youngest. The three youngest were a boy maybe almost 3, their daughter close to two and the newest member of the family a cute little boy maybe 8 months old. The father has an app on his phone that can translate between English and Arabic. You speak into the phone, it translates and then plays the translation out loud. We had quite the time laughing away as we tried to get to know a bit about each other, let’s just say the app makes some interesting decisions around translation! The whole time we are chatting away the kids are getting more and more comfortable with me, I made some funny noises that made them laugh and got to hold the baby. Time was getting on and I had other work that had to be done so I finished my tea, thanked both parents for their hospitality and said good bye.

As I drove away something struck me. Here are these three kids, who have probably seen worse in their sort time on this planet than I’ve seen in my almost 40 years, happy as can be. Smiling laughing, playing, just being kids, seemingly unaware of the set of circumstances that have led them to where they are now. It kind of put it all into perspective for me. It’s sad how when adults act like idiots and fight over land, politics, religion, whatever….it’s always kids that suffer the most. While it was exciting to be able to see the smiles on those kids faces and know that they’re somewhere safe and have two clearly loving parents, they are the exception. There are hundreds of thousands of kids that aren’t going to get that same chance.

I’m proud to able to share the work we do, I don’t think we could have found a better use for the home House of Friendship has been fortunate enough to share with them.

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