The Welcome House through the Eyes of Former Residents

Meet three former residents who stayed at the Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre between years 1994 and 2006.

Part 2: Eisa Gumaa - Darfur, Sudan

In 1999, we stayed in the welcome house for 19 days. We did not know anybody, had no friends or family. But the people at the house treated us like family. My mom always told me, treat people well and they will do the same.
When I came here, I got everything. When you go into the kitchen, there was food, juice, bread and milk. Everything was there. I just kept thinking about my mom and how she was — what she was eating. When I saw how people welcomed us in Canada, I thought we were in paradise. I was happy that I was here, but I always thought about my family.
The Centre was clean, bright and well organized. There was a living room with a TV. We stayed in room 23 C. This is why today, after 17 years, I still come to this house. It was my first house.
This is the place where people start their lives. The house brings hope to people. I appreciate who ever came up with the idea of this Centre. The experience I had in this house, I can’t even describe it. God bless everyone who works and volunteers here.
My daughter was 6 months old when we came to this house and now, she is in university. My other daughter will attend university next year and my son is going to grade six. We have a lot of hope for them. I am happy to be here today.
If we see today’s refugees, it’s 100 times worse. There are refugees everywhere — Africa, Asia, Middle East. It seems like the world is broken. People are not taking care of each other. To be a refugee, is to lose your country, your family. It’s to be heartbroken. I open my house and heart to welcome others the same way Canada has welcomed me.