23 Jun Daniela’s Story, New Hope Memories
In Mexico, my husband and I worked hard to establish our own restaurant, with an amazing community of customers and employees. Just as we felt like we were making our dreams come true, one of the most powerful cartels from Mexico started demanding money from us. When we couldn’t pay, they started to threaten our family. In Mexico, when the cartels get mad, they try to intimidate you, threaten you, and, in the worst case, kill you. This is a type of war that nobody talks about, but it’s a reality for many of us. You can’t imagine living with the feeling of fear that somebody is looking for you and wants to hurt your family.
We suddenly left EVERYTHING – our home, our family, our dreams and plans for the future, the community that we built in our business, and the place that we belonged.
On March 1st, we took a flight to Vancouver and made a refugee claim. Since we arrived in Canada, we have had countless good experiences with Canadians. First, we lived in a motel for three nights, and stayed in a shelter which provided all our basic needs. After three months, we received one of the best calls.
They told us that one apartment was available for us at New Hope and the real good story starts here! First of all, the name of the organization ‘New Hope’ honors what they do. We met the amazing team that is always there for you day/night 24/7. (Literally they have stories of driving in the snow in the middle of the night because someone is having a baby!)
And then there are the church volunteers that come and build a home from scratch. Not a house, a home, and I say this because you can feel the warmth and love that they put into arranging the dishes, the living room, and the table where you will sit and eat with your family. These details helped us to feel that we belonged to a new place. We brought only a suitcase full of memories and melancholy and we didn’t speak the language, but everyone made us feel like part of a family. Another important part of New Hope are the volunteers who put all their joy, creativity and knowledge into the activities or classes in the building. They all have a very important role in the life of each one of us and we remember them with love.
One of the memories that I have from living here is that at first my daughter didn’t speak a word of English, but then a volunteer came to give some lessons, and now she knows more than us! I also remember having depressing days when I wanted to stay in bed all day, but everyone kept knocking on my door and asking me to participate in the activities, so I didn’t have time to stay sad! And another one of my favourite memories is when everybody watched my youngest daughter’s first steps and enjoyed together like a family. Everyone here is happy to celebrate the milestones for each family.
Seeing all those people working together for us who are in a vulnerable moment of our lives is beautiful and gives us hope to move forward despite adversity. Along the way we have made many friends and learned new things.
And this is the sad part of the story – after 18 months, our time at New Hope came to an end. But I have always said that to build a house you need a strong foundation and that is New Hope for us! New Hope was our foundation for a better future. I think that to be able to go out into the real Canadian world we all need a community like New Hope in our lives. Fortunately, we found a house in the same neighbourhood and we are still part of this family. I have had the opportunity to volunteer in the Kid’s Club, help prepare apartments for new families, and help translate interviews with people who speak Spanish. We are just one of hundreds of families that New Hope has helped and everyone who puts a hand inside the organization has a place in our hearts.
And we just want to say THANK YOU!!