This small book is an offer of gratitude for all that I have received from my neighbours — brothers, aunts, grandfathers, nieces, mothers — at Kinbrace. Cups of tea, a phrase in a new language, a place at the dinner table, a listening ear, a shift in perspective, incomparable hugs, help in the garden, trampoline jumps, a shared grief, a story. I am grateful to Aila, Mahsa, Esther, Leila, Nour, Hewa and Gashaw, Saima, José, Benjamin and Subira, Przha, Kanori, Mohammed, and about a hundred others who have been my neighbours over the last three and a half years. If I have any insight into these five core values, it’s because of you.
Beyond my beloved neighbours, I have so many people to thank: twelve generous donors who tended the seed of this project and encouraged my voice as a writer; thirty-two gracious reviewers from within and without the Kinbrace community whose feedback invigorated the editing process. Andrew, Andrea, Bev, Erin, Jaylynn, Karen, Krista, Lauren, Loren, Lucas, Niki, Rosemary, and Zsuzsi who have been companions on the journey. To each one of you… Thank you.
I acknowledge that the stories and reflections I have shared are my own. I have not experienced forced displacement, so I cannot speak on behalf of those who have fled persecution in search of safety. I have endeavored to share my own experience of being richly neighboured, in the hope that more communities of welcome will be created where refugee claimants and Canadians might flourish together.
You can create a world of welcome.
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