Weaving roots and belonging
Summer is a time when MFRS & MCHB collaborate on creating opportunities for participating families to visit Edmonton events and attractions to connect to local places and local culture. This summer, with the help of our Summer Youth Team there was intention put to creating intercultural connections within these group trips. We asked the youth leaders to tell us about some of these activities and any reflections they had on moments of intercultural connections that they were able to be a part of or witnessed.
Youth Leader, Fana:
On Saturday July 22, we went to Taste of Edmonton at Churchill Square. We walked around the Square tasting food then joined the Taste 4 Kids program where kids could go to play games. Linda and Misha ( sisters from the Girls’ Program) showed the rest of us a game from their country, Namibia. This reminded Tsion (Girls Program Coordinator) and myself of a game we used to play in Ethiopia as kids called 'Suzy', so we taught the girls how to play it.
Youth Leader, Arsema:
One Thursday in July the Ethiopian/Eritrean parents group was scheduled, but the gym was occupied by the Chinese group and they were playing badminton. Both groups agreed to join up and play badminton together since the nets were already set up. This was a great opportunity for the kids in the Ethiopian/Eritrean Parent/Child group because they usually just play soccer and basketball - this time the instructors from the Chinese group showed them how to play badminton.
Youth Leader, Vivian:
In July we took a bus of youth to Lady Flower Garden in the north east of Edmonton to participate in some gardening.
Lady Flower works with a many organizations such as Hope Mission and the Mustard Seed to help provide good nutrition to people who don’t regularly access good nutrition.
The rules of the garden program are: first we weed, then we harvest for the food bank (Hope Mission), and then we can harvest for ourselves.
A group of seniors came to the Garden as we were weeding so we harvested for them as well. I loved how everyone tends to the needs of the garden like weeding, watering and then harvesting for the community and lastly for themselves. This made us feel part of the community and part of the land. Lady Flower Garden is really about building community and giving back.
I took home peas, carrots, beets, and spinach. We used the carrots and peas to make a Viges Soup:
Viges Soup is a dish from Uganda. My mum adds pumpkin leaves, pepper, salt and ground cray fish, 2 to 3 stock cubes. She adds one cup of periwinkle. She first steams the peas and then adds everything to spice it up while frying everything she adds.
Youth Leader, Joyce:
My experience at the MFRS has been more than exciting. Each day I interact with different people, learn about different cultures, make connections and on top of that I get to be a part of giving someone else an everlasting memory. Events like the pool party, trips to Elk Island and Lady Flower Garden, or our bbq events involved people of many different cultures, backgrounds and experiences interacting and getting to see different parts of Edmonton. Many participants have been here for less than one or two years. I saw them forget about their language or cultural barriers and just have fun.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday was the Parenting Groups and we would support the children and youth programming. My favourite memory from that was when we were having story time and one of the boys wanted to read to us. He was not afraid of the fact that his english was not very good or that he might make a mistake; he just read to us because he felt comfortable with us (the youth leaders and the other kids). What amazed me was not that he read one story and gave up but he went on and read three books. I was proud that I helped to make the experience happen. Thank you MFRS for giving this opportunity to help make an everlasting memory for someone.