Sean Pennylegion's friends lean toward him to make sure he's not cropped out of a photo which he begrudgingly consents to. From left volunteers Pennylegion Tim Hagarty Councillor Dennis Casey and Tina Hadley. /JENN WATT Staff

Volunteering with the Wisos

If you had to flee your home your country what would you take?
I volunteered at the Wisos’ new home in Haliburton last week in the capacity of ESL English as a second language teacher. Along with father Yousef and mother Ghiyab I understood my experience in the home would include the one-year-old daughter Nasime and preschooler daughter Rama 3. My learning materials took me back to a position I held a number of years ago called Family ESL and included: counting blocks a wooden toy school bus a ball and a couple of picture books. I made a list of children’s action songs that included: A B C D Head And Shoulders Bingo and If you’re happy and you know it.

When I arrived Yousef greeted me carrying Nasime. Then Ghiyab welcomed me Rama tugging at her shirt and ushered me into the dining room.
“Your table covering is sooooooo….beautiful!” I remarked.
“Thank you!” she responded with pride.
“You brought it from your country.”
“Yes” she answered smiling from ear to ear.
Rama took my hand and led me into the playroom.
She too was proud and happy showing me all her new toys.
The learning proceeded as we engaged in this English experience together.
Near the end of my visit Ghiyab served all of us including the children strong coffee in small demi-tasse cups embellished with a Middle Eastern pattern of dark blue and gold on a tray.
“Thank you. The cups are so beautiful! You brought them from your country also?”
“Yes” she answered smiling from ear to ear.

During my evening meditation I pondered “If I had to leave my home my country at a moment’s notice and could only take a small knapsack what would I take? What would sustain me in a life/death situation?……my Buddha batik wall hanging candles my meditation bell my yoga block and mat and a copy of Jack Kornfield’s book Path of the Heart….and a few Canadian apples of different varieties.”
Practice 30 minutes of compassionate chair yoga with Barb Rosen by tuning into yoga and choose any of the four practices.
Barb Rosen
Eagle Lake