A journey into community immersion

by Maritime

After moving to Nova Scotia six years ago, Blessing felt a bit lonely and home sick for her family in Nigeria, but The Salvation Army in Dartmouth quickly filled this gap for her by making her feel welcome and helping her meet new friends.

“When I first went to The Salvation Army, I used the food bank, but my family didn’t need that support for long as we got settled in Dartmouth and my husband got a job; however, we are fortunate to get snacks and bread, as well as leftovers from the cooking program.”

Blessing learned a lot about Canadian cuisine through the Cook with a Budget program offered via in Dartmouth on the third Wednesday of each month. She also attends the Moms and Tots program on Tuesday mornings where she has built lasting friendships and recently went to The Salvation Army’s Moms and Tots summer camp.

“I met so many people and felt like a princess. We got manicures and pedicures, created paintings, mugs and we planted flowers. Moms don’t often have much time to connect so it was nice having conversations with other women; we also learned how to handle anger with our children at home, the grocery store and in other public places.”

This fall, Blessing is excited to be a student again. She is attending the Nova Scotia Community College and is enrolled in a one year re-entry program to align her Nigerian nursing license with Nova Scotia requirements. 

When Blessing isn’t participating in one of community programs or preparing for school, she is helping settle other families who have moved to Nova Scotia from Africa. Using her experience as a newcomer, Blessing is paving the way to help other newcomers feel welcome and providing them a sense of belonging. “I am helping them feel at home and learn about the culture and the food here; while we aren’t blood sisters, it’s so great to have someone here from home.”