Newcomers to southeast Saskatchewan. share their stories by coming to Canada


Some residents and former residents of Moosomin recently shared their personal experiences of first coming to Canada.

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The Moosomin community has welcomed many newcomers, immigrants and refugees over the past 20 years.

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The Central East Newcomer Welcome Center strives to make the transition of newcomers to Canada a welcoming and helpful experience. Executive Director Edith Montesclaros said the agency’s primary goal is to help newcomers connect with the community.

“There’s a story of newcomers who spend two years in a small community and then move on to a bigger city because they claim the big cities have more to offer, but there’s so much that the small communities can offer newcomers,” she said.

“We want them to be retained in our region because… they can contribute a lot of things and we know that because they have so much talent.”

Montesclaros said it’s important for the organization to help new Canadians connect with the community.

“For example, someone who suffers from depression due to winter, long nights and the absence of family members can make them feel isolated. So we’re trying to provide the services to alleviate some of those challenges and provide them with information, because that’s the most important thing. It is sometimes difficult to find information when you do not know what you are looking for.

Some residents and former residents of Moosomin recently shared their personal experiences of first coming to Canada and how their transition was when they moved to small town Saskatchewan.

From Cuba to Saskatchewan

Giselle Brito came to Canada in 2008 from Cuba as a single mother with two young boys.

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“It was definitely not easy,” she said, arriving first in Cabri, in the southwest of the province. “My children were seven and nine at the time. Finding a job was a bit difficult for me.

She moved to Moosomin for work, taking a job as an advertising sales representative at the World-Spectator. Finding a stable income and learning English were among her biggest challenges.

“There weren’t a lot of immigrants in the community,” she said, adding that despite that, she felt welcome.

“I was always getting help from families and colleagues, my bosses – they were all amazing to me.”

At that time, there were few services, other than English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, to help her transition to permanent resident status. For example, Brito said even learning about the process of applying for jobs in Canada was new to her.

“Basically in Cuba after you graduate from university, college or whatever school they just put you in a place of work,” she said. “You don’t apply for jobs, you don’t do interviews, and for sure that help would have been good for me.

Currently, Brito works at Regional Connections in Manitoba as a learning coach in the community organization’s language department.

“Feeling part of the community — I say community even though it’s a big city — is important. You leave behind your family, your friends, your country of origin, your culture… It’s easier when you have this community rather than having no one or no support to do so.

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“I am forever grateful to the Moosomin community.

From Honduras and the Philippines to Canada

Mario Zavala from Honduras and Roselyn Dulnuan from the Philippines came to Moosomin from Ontario in 2012 to work at a local hotel.

Roselyn said one of the biggest challenges was not having access to a vehicle. Once she was at the grocery store with her friends, and a lady from the post office offered to take them home with all their groceries.

“We worked at the motel as contract workers, until we got our permanent residency, and then we started looking for other jobs and found ourselves enjoying the community,” she said. .

“After a few years in town, we noticed that the people here were very friendly, caring, respectable, and because it was a quiet place, it made us feel like they were very helpful to new people in the community,” Roselyn said.

Coming from a city, Roselyn said programs that help newcomers adjust to a small town can definitely play a role for new Canadians who stay in the area.

“In a small town, the people here are basically like family to each other…if they know you need help, they’ll offer it to you, or they’ll talk to you and help guide new people. “

Mario was able to fulfill his dream of having his own business, Mario Z Construction. “I feel like I can grow here because people know you, you can grow in town too, but I appreciate the small community.”

After working at the motel, Roselyn found work in private home care as a full-time caregiver.

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“I’m just grateful for the community, for welcoming us before and for people to be friendly, for welcoming us like family, especially when you go to church, when you go to the store and if you need help. ‘help, they guide us,’ Roselyn said. ‘That’s why I want to stay here, because I feel comfortable here, it’s a safe place to live.’

Transition from the Philippines to Moosomin

Leo Ilustrisimo of GL Apparel and Promotions came to Canada from the Philippines in 2009.

“It was tough, but we were lucky that the company that hired us from the Philippines had brought in a few of my compatriots before, so they had experience on how to handle the first few weeks. to be here,” Illustrisimo said.

“Sometimes when you’re the first guy to arrive in a particular town…you’re basically on your own. It’s really hard because you miss your family at home, you adapt to everything new in town, you don’t know anyone except your colleagues, you don’t have a vehicle.

He hooked up with another Filipino member of the community at the time.

“When we came to Moosomin, there was only one Filipino in town. It was the Catholic priest here in Moosomin, Father Dennis… He immediately came to visit us, took us out, helped us with groceries, that kind of thing. It was really good to talk to someone,” he said.

Ilustrisimo also had a colleague from the community who helped to welcome him and familiarize himself with the city.

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“When you’re new, every piece of information is helpful, every interaction, every connection with familiar faces is a big help.”

After living in Moosomin for 11 years with his family, Ilustrisimo is happy to be part of the community.

“Now we have established a Filipino community in Moosomin, one of our goals is to help newcomers to the community get established.”

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• Sierra D’Souza Butts is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for the World-Spectator

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