Last weekend a few members of the Family Team took Zuhir, Sabah and their five children to the Sugar Bush. Here is a first hand report from Jane:
"Fortune Farms is a low key, not very commercial sugar bush. A perfect size for our family and not very crowded. Everyone was friendly beginning with the girl who made them taffy sticks, rolling them on the snow. We then tramped through the bush to see the various stages of tapping trees and boiling the syrup.
At one place there were a group of men in odd hats who looked like a geriatric version of trailer park boys. When we told them that the family was Syrian, they greeted them in Arabic. Turns out they are part of a group sponsoring a family of five in Perth. These men couldn't have been nicer to the kids, showing them old fashioned wooden toys that one of them makes, letting them into the cage with little lambs, letting them on the snowmobile, and giving them pins with the Canadian flag and a trillium. One man took Kitty and I aside and said: isn't sponsoring a family about the best thing you have ever done.
A few snowball fights, a stop to pat some friendly dogs, a maple tart and then we drove home with cars full of tired children and happy parents (Kitty, Ted and I were probably the happiest)"
In a few short weeks, our Syrian family went from the heat of Lebanon to cross country skiing in the cold snow at Mooney’s Bay.
Volunteers of the Syrian Refugee Subgroup arranged for free equipment and lessons for Zuhir and two of his boys. Instructors taught them how to glide, handle poles and even go down hills. Zuhir is a natural athlete and quickly learned to manoeuvre the equipment both in and out of tracks. The boys, aged 9 and 7, were not quite as adept but their determination to learn shone through tumble after tumble.
The lesson ended with huge smiles and thumbs up from Canada’s newest skiers. A huge thank you goes to John Asselin, Program Supervisor with the City of Ottawa for providing this quintessential Canadian experience.