I am a program coordinator for migration and resettlement with MCC Manitoba where I work with newcomers and youth in the community. Due to COVID restrictions I meet with community youth outside to talk, following public health guidelines. I can’t do some parts of my job, like home visits.
I’m a single mom and have two daughters who are in school. During the pandemic, I’ve been so terrified for my daughters, especially the oldest because she has some health issues. With the new variants of the virus having really negative impacts for younger people I’ve become even more concerned.
Our family includes our cat, Blue. Last year, my co-worker needed to rehome a one-year-old dog, so a new daughter was added to our family, Abby Darweesh—she’s adorable, friendly and bubbly. I joke that my youngest daughter is my favourite. I can’t remember what our life was like without Abby. It was a month before the pandemic, right before all my friends were looking for quarantine dogs. We are so blessed to have her.
I had my first dose of the vaccine at my doctor’s office in Winnipeg. It was AstraZeneca and I didn’t have any side effects except for a sore arm. The needle felt like it does when you get a flu shot. I think even if you feel a little sick from side effects, it’s worth it to get the vaccine. The day I was vaccinated it was the happiest day I’ve had in two years. I left the clinic feeling like I was up and over the clouds, like I owned the whole world!
I’m a Canadian citizen. I was originally sponsored by MCC to come to Canada. In Syria, vaccination was a privilege, but it was an enforced privilege—it wasn’t a choice. I think most of the resettled Syrian community in Manitoba will get immunized, but we need to keep raising awareness. I’ve been telling everybody about my vaccination by phone and email. Hopefully nobody will be left behind.
Everybody should take the vaccine and wear a mask. I understand that we’re all burned out. But the vaccine is something we have to do for our loved ones and our neighbours, and our brothers and sisters.
After everyone in Manitoba is vaccinated, I can’t say everything will go back to the way it was before COVID. But I think it will be less stressful for everybody. We’ll be able to go back to our offices, hold family gatherings and travel. That’s my hope!