Strangers No More by Elsie Epp

Sunday, January 14, 2018 two Bethel Care Groups got together for a baby shower celebrating the birth of Olivia, our newly ‘adopted’ granddaughter. She and her parents were introduced to some of the usual Canadian traditions that go with a shower – pink decorations and punch, gifts, well wishes and, of course, snacks.

A good time was had by all, especially by one unnamed grandpa who got to hold Olivia longer than anyone else!

What brought us to this event is a bit of a surprise. You really never know what to expect when you start welcoming strangers. I first met this couple through the Mosaic English classes. That was last May, three months after they arrived in Winnipeg as Yazidi refugees from northern Iraq. In June, Delmer and I agreed to meet with them weekly to practise English conversation and that led to me focusing on prenatal vocabulary and preparation for their firstborn. Olivia delayed her expected arrival, so we were in Vancouver when I received the text announcing her birth. Still that was not nearly as far away as her biological grandmothers, one of whom is now in Germany and the other in a refugee camp in Iraq.

We first met Olivia a week later and I was delighted to be introduced as her ‘Mama’, affirming that we are now no longer strangers, but members of one family!