We recently sat down with Joseph (not his real name) to talk about his experiences in Canada and his hopes for the future. Joseph arrived at Micah House several months ago but his application to remain in Canada is still undecided. Refugee claimants in this space, like Joseph, will typically wait months for the results of their application and so must get on with life here despite an uncertain future (Note that although we recorded our conversation the following is a paraphrase to allow for space).
Micah House: You have begun to settle here in Canada. In the most general terms what would you like to do next?
Joseph: I have a plan to pursue things to do with sport. Basically I like wall climbing, rock climbing and adventure sports, but I know that blind people have an opportunity to do different kinds of sports over here, which are not available in my country. Things like athletics, swimming, that kind of a thing. There is an organization called Ontario Blind Sports who invited me to a three-day high performance training and evaluation camp. I’m going there this month.
Micah House: Are you doing anything to stay in shape or are you too busy for that right now?
Joseph: Basically [right now] I am trying for a job. My plan is to not be dependant on any kind of grant. I am looking for any kind of opportunity, any kind of job. At home I worked to make packaging material, the kind of thing you’d use for take-away food.
Micah House: How would you describe your experience in Canada so far?
Joseph: I spent three months on an exchange in the United States. It’s much more of a party country and Canada is more silent (that made us both laugh).
If I compare Canada with [my home country] of course Canada is far, far ahead of it. Namely your health plan and opportunities for those with disabilities, and for a job [for those with disabilities]. In my country I worked on my own because most employers would reject me. My disability would get in the way there but it does not seem to be as much of a problem with employers here as long as you tell them.
People here are willing to give you a chance and I find that motivates me.
Micah House: Is it challenging to find an apartment? A place of your own?
Joseph: Oh yeah. I will be looking for a furnished apartment and a roommate. But even when it comes to sharing an apartment I will be facing a challenge [because of my disability.] Micah House is trying their level-best to help me, and right now I have a plan to stay in Hamilton, but what actually happens, I’m not sure.
Although Joseph has some extra challenges he always surprises me with his independence. He is clearly comfortable and capable in his surroundings.
Joseph has built up a network of support outside of Micah House and is eager to make his mark in Canada. One thing I left out of the interview was his desire to be a wealthy person and given his tenacity I will not be surprised when he succeeds. Once he has achieved some wealth, Joseph plans to make sure he gives back into the system that has helped him.
…and now, the Team.
Rev. Scott Jones (Executive Director)
He is responsible to oversee all facets of Micah House, including vision, strategy, staff, education and spiritual leadership.
Feona Johnson (Holton Avenue Site Manager)
Feona lives at Holton, keeps the residence safe and functioning smoothly, provides a liaison between volunteer groups and the residents, as well as several other things to bring God’s love, peace and continuity to Micah House.
Helen Reader (Settlement Director)
She is in the office four days a week to oversee the implementation of every guest file. She ensures that all guests receive the kind of caring and trustworthy treatment our guests deserve. She is the force that makes things happen.
Joan Thiessen (Bookkeeper)
She has been with Micah House since our doors opened in 2006. She works out of her home and makes sure that our books are balanced and that our bills are paid.
Joanne Kater (Administrator)
She ensures that all incoming funds are directed to their proper place and accounted for. Joanne also plays an ongoing role coming alongside all of our fundraisers, and oversees our in-house data base.
Tyler Bouman (Huntley Street Site Manager)
Tyler has been overseeing the Huntley residence since it opened in December 2018. However after a year of operation Wentworth Baptist Church has sold their property and Micah House will no longer be able to operate this site as of December 31, 2019. We are grateful to Tyler for the impactful ministry he managed these past months.
Erwin is in charge of stakeholder development. He is helping us design and maintain a forward path for this ministry that will sustain us for years’ ahead.