What's it like hosting a refugee?

By Michael F. Paré, Toronto Ontario.

In my spare time out of kindness, I have hosted adult refugees for past eight years, who stay one to three years, creating and maintaining a safe nonjudgmental atmosphere of peace and mutual respect. I charge no rent, but they share grocery costs and do a few household chores and have their own space.  I currently have a young male 36,   who has been with me since 2014. Before that, I had his friend same age, a hair stylist, who stayed from 2010 to 2012, he then went back to Europe and we are still friends through Facebook.  

Joe  is a very quiet guy, not much for starting conversation. His English was very bad when we first met. I could not understand most of what he was saying but after four years with me, he speaks almost perfect English. Sometimes a few word pronunciations elude him, but once he learns them, they are no longer a problem. I have the satisfaction of helping someone,  as well as learning about the newcomer’s culture and language.

One of Joe’s Parkdale friends took the above photo on July 9, 2016 on some rooftop near Queen and Roncesvalles, in background is Lake Ontario's  Humber Bay and Gardiner Expressway.
 Has a small low paying job as a drywaller sometimes working 12 hour shifts five or six days a week with Sunday as his day off. I do not see him much, except in the evening when he arrives home to make his supper. He has some relatives who live in Parkdale and Uncle to two small children and loves to spoil them. It is nice to have some companionship in my old age, and he is a fabulous  cook. I am not sure how long Joe will be with me, now in his fourth year, I do not mind, friendship is not ownership and he can leave when he is ready. ~ MFP