By Michael Boriero
The past two weeks have been chaotic, stressful and emotional for Tamara Gimazova and her family, after they uprooted their lives in Ukraine to find peace and begin a new life in Canada.
Gimazova found respite in the arms of Dunham residents Michelle Julien, Jonathan Sommer and their 15-year-old son Theo. She contacted Julien through the Facebook group, CANADA – Host Ukrainians / Hébergeons les Ukrainiens, on May 14. The family arrived two days later.
“[Julien] has really helped us. She helps us every day from morning to evening and I don’t understand how people do all of this, getting a social insurance number, opening a bank account, finding a job, finding a place to stay or renting an apartment,” Gimazova said.
Gimazova was visiting her husband’s family in Turkey when Russia invaded Ukraine. She immediately started looking into an escape to Canada. And while she was able to land safe and sound in Montreal, there are still a lot of obstacles to overcome before settling down.
Her husband, Erdem, has already started working as a painter. Their eldest son, Arseniy, a 13-year-old, enrolled at Massey-Vanier High School one week after arriving in the Eastern Townships. And 20-month-old Marat has been keeping busy on Julien’s 26-acre property.