This past Monday marked the official start of the year with the arrival of our two new sponsored students Semere and Muse. An article will follow in the next week or two where we interview them so that our lovely followers will get to know our fantastic new additions to WUSC Regina. In the meantime, we’ll walk you through their very busy first week in Regina!
Monday night a very large group (over twenty people) gathered at the airport with posters, signs and balloons, impatiently awaiting the arrival of Semere and Muse. We gathered together, members of the hoard from different parts of the world, cheering and clapping as the guys came out of the arrival gate and down the stairs. Their arrival didn’t just mark the beginning of their new lives but it was also a reunion as Muse had been in the same camp with our previously sponsored student Mohamed, and Semere had family who drove from Calgary to come greet him as well. Because it was late when they arrived we got them settled in for the evening with their temporary homestays.
Tuesday night WUSC and URGR had a potluck so that we could all get to know Semere and Muse better and it was a success! Then again, how could a night of good company and good food not be?! We ate after sundown to accommodate those fasting for Ramadan and we played card games which proved to us just how well Muse and Semere understand English. (Hint: They’re amazing.) Wednesday morning we moved the boys into their new dorms so they could finally feel at home and unpack. Then that afternoon, they were taken on a fieldtrip to the Science Center! We finished the evening off by having supper at Selam, Saskatchewan’s ONLY Ethiopian restaurant. It was entertaining having the boys teach us how to properly eat Ethiopian food, with no utensils I might add.
Thursday morning started off early with a trip to the grocery store. It should be noted that after spending a couple days with us the boys seemed more at ease and talkative. Perhaps the jetlag was finally coming to an end. The ride to the grocery store proved to be entertaining as they received their first lesson in seatbelt safety (apparently seatbelts aren’t very common in their part of the world) as I demonstrated how a seatbelt would save their lives by slamming on the breaks. Have no fear, Manie had already fixed their belts and made sure they were buckled properly before I endangered their lives. The fun didn’t stop there though! When we got to the store we had a lesson on how to rent the carts with a loonie (I FAILED at doing so and ended up buying a cart from a lady because I couldn’t figure it out. So lesson 2 of the day after seatbelt safety was that I clearly don’t buy groceries often).
Muse seemed very surprised at the size of the Superstore as he explained to me that stores back home are very small and perhaps the size of just the deli counter. He seemed awed at the idea that the Superstore was just one of many stores in Regina of that size. Lesson 3 of the day was how disgusting and processed North American food is as I instructed Muse to be very careful buying food with meat in it to be sure there is no pork. I showed him slabs of pork and beef side by side to show how similar they appear and that in many meat products one could actually find both animals in one thing such as sausage or sandwich meat! Lesson 4 of the day was that Semere likes to make me gag with his bizarre food preferences because he bought pork kidneys to make for supper. Then again, we do sell cheese and bologna loaf here in Canada so who am I to judge? Lesson 5 came in the form of a kiwi! What is it? How do you eat it? Is it good? Grocery stores are a really fascinating place to learn about different cultures.
At this point, WUSC would like to give a proper shout-out and “Thank You!” To the Sobey’s East for donating a gift bag of food to the guys and to the Superstore East for donating a 50$ gift card to each of them as well. Both were very generous and I know they appreciated it.
After the grocery store Manie gave them their first cooking lesson and then they had the day to do whatever they wanted. Thursday evening was the first WUSC Regina local committee meeting with the guys. I sincerely hope we did not frighten them away as they saw how our executive is and that perhaps some of the members are a bit goofy and crazy (not listing any names…). After the meeting we presented them with brand new laptops! This is the first year WUSC Regina has provided new computers to our sponsored students and it was also Muse’s first time having his own personal computer so this was clearly a big deal for all involved.
Semere and Muse have had a busy first week and their lives are only going to get busier as time passes! Orientation is coming up, the first week of school, first trips to the bank, visits to Canada Immigration, midterms! and so much more. They have their whole lives ahead of them and it will be interesting to see how they progress in Regina. I for one am thrilled that I get to be a part of it.