Due to the pandemic, the Coalition brainstormed ideas around making our community welcoming while staying at home and safe. Some of the concerns have been with mental health, isolation, etc. In creating a welcoming community while respecting social distancing rules, we will be launching a Thriving Together Series on this blog and our social media. This Thriving Together series is where immigrants/newcomers will be sharing their stories and feelings about living through a pandemic. The idea is to understand how they are feeling and if there is anything we can do as a community to make things better. Below is the first story in this series.
Thriving Together 1: Reconnecting With Friends and Family
My name is Uyanga Amgalan. I am Mongolian and moved to Canada in 2014. I lived in Ottawa before moving to the Comox Valley in 2018. I was working as a store associate in Courtenay until I was laid off last month because of COVID-19. I have used this time to catch up on home projects and self-care. Now I am trying to keep myself busy; grocery shopping for friends, cleaning our house, working on a renovation, running or working out. I want to spend every moment being effective as I can.
This has also been a great opportunity for helping out others in need who cannot get out…shopping for them and making sure to check on them during this social distancing period. I have also been talking with my family every day and keeping in touch with friends who live all over the world to make sure they are doing okay. I have just started an online English course and I am very excited about that.
Although this is a tough time for everyone, I feel supported knowing that people are taking care of each other. Using technology for communication and information is helping me feel more connected to my community, family and friends. I am fortunate to be able to use social media to stay connected. Some others don’t know how to use it or can’t access it, so it makes it a little more difficult for them to feel connected during this time. I am part of a group chat with my former coworkers and we share the things we do daily and offer to help each other. I have received emails from the Immigrant Welcome Centre with information about the COVID-19 government programs and have contacted them to help me with some applications. An Instructor at North Island College also contacted me to see how I am doing. It feels great to have support.
I realize even more that family is most important during times like these, especially when your family is so far. Newcomers might not know where to find information, who can help them or community groups and clubs they can join. Maybe they don’t know how to use a computer or social media or don’t understand the information.So, it’s important to reach out to as many people as we can and ask if they need help with anything. People can choose what works for them to keep connected; maybe it’s a phone call, email, chat group or social media. All these things make me feel we care about each other and people in my community have good hearts.