Danny Hutchinson, Post-Secondary Administration & Teulon Rockwood Firefighter

Danny Hutchinson, Post-Secondary Administration & Teulon Rockwood Firefighter

When I think about this past year and all the ways COVID has impacted my family’s life, I really do feel the worst for our kids. My wife and I have ten-year-old twins – a son and a daughter – and they’re both starting to go a bit stir crazy at home and really miss their friends.

Both our kids are in hockey and our daughter is in dance. Hockey was paused at the end of 2020, and cancelled for good in February.  My daughter’s dance classes were moved to Zoom for most of the season and this weekend should have been her dance recital.  Everyone is doing the best they can but they’ve missed out on a lot.

It’s those things that make the vaccine rollout the most exciting because it means we can start thinking about when this will all be over. I was very happy to receive my first vaccine about a week ago and my wife has received her first dose too. I received mine at a pop-up clinic on Notre Dame Avenue and the staff made everything really easy.

I arrived at 11:30 am, waited outside for five minutes and then I was brought in to go through the standard screening, identification and consent steps. After that I got my shot within about five minutes and, other than waiting for the fifteen minutes they ask you to stick around for observation, I was done. It was really well organized with a lot of focus being given to social distancing, which was great to see.

I didn’t experience a lot in the way of side effects, only a bit sick to my stomach the day after. For my wife, she had a bit of a headache but there really wasn’t anything worth mentioning for either of us.

Although I think the kids have had the hardest time, my life has definitely seen its fair share of changes over the past year. When the COVID restrictions started last March, I was working at Red River College as an instructor in math and science for trades. We transitioned to working from home right away, with classes put on hold for a week and then we went right into online instruction. It was a really steep learning curve to get things up and running but we have an incredible team at the college with departments and colleagues all working together to make things happen. I’ll be honest, I didn’t like working from home at all at first. Like so many people I was parked at the dining room table at first and I really miss the everyday interactions with colleagues and friends.

Classes ended in June and then I transitioned to a different job at the college coordinating teacher and student schedules. It was definitely a crazy time to start that position given all the scheduling challenges related to COVID-19, but we’ve been able to make a hybrid model work with onsite shops and labs, combined with at-home online courses for theory.

On top of all that, I’m an on-call firefighter with the Teulon Rockwood fire department. As a group, we knew a COVID outbreak in our team would put the community at risk so we spend a lot of time focusing on using masks and cleaning procedures to keep everyone safe.

We’ve done the best we can to make things work both personally and professionally, but I really hope the vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel. For anyone hesitant about receiving it, I think we deal with a certain amount of risk every day no matter what we do, and the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the cons.

But even when we all eventually get the vaccine, I think life will be different as a result of everything we’ve gone through. I think we were caught flat-footed on a global scale in how to deal with the pandemic and it’s experiences like these that will help us do better in the future.


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Taya Rtichsheva, Founder and Executive Director, U Multicultural

Taya Rtichsheva, Founder and Executive Director, U Multicultural

I worked as a television and film producer in Kazakhstan before immigrating to Canada. In 2017, I opened U Multicultural as a not-for-profit ethnocultural community television and radio broadcaster that focuses on diverse communities in Manitoba. But we had to shut down the studio because of the pandemic. Normally we have members from 30 communities, from Inuit to Yazidi, who film programming in different languages. We’re eager to have community members back in the studio as soon as it’s safe to do so. Getting more Manitobans vaccinated will certainly help with that!

At home the pandemic has been challenging as well. Especially for my 7 year-old daughter who has been doing remote learning. I’m glad the opportunity to learn is there, but kids need social interaction and it’s hard for them to sit at a computer all day.

I had my first shot of the vaccine at the RBC Convention Centre as soon as I was eligible. When I went, the line moved very quickly and I was there for less than an hour in total. Thankfully my only side-effect was a sore arm. I’d like to express my appreciation to everyone working and volunteering there, including the nurses and medical professionals. Bravo!

Members of my family were hesitant about vaccination. Then, after I got my first dose, they changed their minds, slowly, without any pressure, and now they are getting vaccinated. Sometimes people just need to sit with a new idea for a while, see that nothing bad happens, and then they feel comfortable to do it themselves. 

I myself wasn’t hesitant about getting vaccinated. Maybe that is partly because medical doctors I know got vaccinated themselves. We trust doctors with our health, and if doctors themselves are taking the COVID vaccine, that says a lot. Their decisions are based on science, not rumours or myths. 

Seeing now how the vaccines are effectively protecting people is also very powerful. Most of the people now in hospital have not been vaccinated. My undergraduate degree was in journalism, and what I learned is to look at scientific data as a credible source. If you don’t trust the media, you can find scientific data in medical journals available online.

The immunization of Manitobans will make it faster and easier to get back to our pre-COVID life. Israel is a great example; people got vaccinated, now there’s a low rate of COVID, and they’re reopening businesses, cultural organizations and community services.

Before COVID, some of us didn’t value ordinary things like meeting with friends and kids’ activities. After COVID, I think we need to remember the importance of our relationships with other people. Don’t obsess over social media and electronic devices. Meet your friends face-to-face more often. Say kind words to your parents. Understand the unique value of every minute of life. Think of the people who lost their lives to COVID. Personally, I have dreams I want to fulfill, like being able to travel around Canada and the world to produce documentaries. In Winnipeg, I really want to enjoy our summer concerts and festivals, like Jazz Fest and Folk Fest.

For me, getting the vaccine means I’m doing my part to reopen the U Multicultural studio, to be able to welcome back our community members – so we can all get back to normal.

I worked as a television and film producer in Kazakhstan before immigrating to Canada. In 2017, I opened U Multicultural as a not-for-profit ethnocultural community television and radio broadcaster that focuses on diverse communities in Manitoba. But we had to shut down the studio because of the pandemic. Normally we have members from 30 communities, […]

Tyler Hill, Winnipeg Goldeyes

Tyler Hill, Outfielder, Winnipeg Goldeyes

Tyler Hill, Winnipeg Goldeyes

Outfielder Tyler Hill is in his seventh season of professional baseball, and returns to the Goldeyes after hitting .375 for the club in 2019.  Hill had his contract purchased by the Kansas City Royals late that summer, and was assigned to the Carolina League’s Wilmington Blue Rocks in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.  The 25-year-old was so popular amongst the local fans that his likeness was depicted on a bobblehead at the end of the season after the Blue Rocks won the league championship.

Outfielder Tyler Hill is in his seventh season of professional baseball, and returns to the Goldeyes after hitting .375 for the club in 2019.  Hill had his contract purchased by the Kansas City Royals late that summer, and was assigned to the Carolina League’s Wilmington Blue Rocks in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.  The 25-year-old […]

Mwumvaneza Azarias Butariho, Housing Advisor, New Journey Housing

Mwumvaneza Azarias Butariho, Housing Advisor, New Journey Housing

The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for me. I work from home now and I really miss my colleagues at New Journey Housing. As part of my job as a Housing Advisor I teach a rental workshop where I talk about rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords. I also teach home purchasing workshops where I talk about mortgages and money management. I normally lead these workshops for newcomers in person but because of COVID, the workshops now take place on Zoom. I also can’t meet clients at our office, so when my clients need to sign an application I meet them outside. 

I can’t wait until we can meet people in person and hug each other, share a meal together, talk, and socialize. Normally I meet others for group prayer on Saturdays. I miss it–we really feel very happy when we pray together. Now we meet through the phone, but it’s not the same. When we sing, the voices come in one by one, or they don’t come at all. It’s boring to stay home all the time. I can’t meet my friends and I miss them. And when I go grocery shopping, I’m afraid of catching COVID in the store. 

I hope one day we’ll hear that the province’s COVID numbers are very low. Every day now the numbers are so high, people are dying, people are suffering. COVID has jeopardized so many things. So many people lost their jobs, so many businesses closed. For people coming to Canada from the U.S., Europe or Africa, the hotel quarantine costs a lot of money.

Some people are worried about the vaccine and some people are getting inaccurate information from online sources. I was vaccinated at a pharmacy near where I live in Winnipeg. The needle was like any other needle and I really didn’t feel anything. They told me to sit down and wait for 15 minutes after the injection to see if my body would have a reaction. My body didn’t react to the vaccine, so they told me, okay, bye, go home! I had no side effects! For those who are scared of being immunized, I want to say don’t be scared at all. But I know that even if you are afraid, you should try to find the courage to be immunized. I trust in the vaccinations, I got one myself, and I know that getting vaccinated is the only way we will all be able to get back to normal. 

I’m protecting myself and others by being vaccinated. If all of us are vaccinated, it makes a big difference for everyone because it reduces the spread of COVID. I really would like to encourage each of you to get the vaccine which will boost your immune system. We will be strong together if we all take the vaccine.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for me. I work from home now and I really miss my colleagues at New Journey Housing. As part of my job as a Housing Advisor I teach a rental workshop where I talk about rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords. I also teach home purchasing workshops where […]

Additional Resources

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine from official sources.