Maita stayed at our Crisis Program for several months and just recently moved on to our Rights of Passage Program (ROP) at the beginning of January. When I first met Maita in September, she was quiet, kept to herself, and wasn’t a youth that I found myself having lengthy conversations with mainly due to language barriers which made it difficult for us to converse.
Maita was glad to start a new chapter at Covenant House Vancouver, she attended classes regularly, and was working towards getting a job. Maita got a job in late Fall and got up at 4am every weekday to go to work all the way in Surrey. I remember going over Maita’s directions to work with her on Google Maps, I was so shocked at how long it took. It took her almost 2 hours by train, and 2 buses to get to work for 7am everyday.
Maita never complained about going to work and told me lots of times how grateful she was to have a job. How grateful she was that she could earn money and learn some English, and how happy she was to have met friends from different African countries at work. I really appreciated this and felt inspired by Maita’s great work ethic and grateful mindset.
Maita was also a motivated saver. She and I had some great conversations about money, where Maita would ask me to help her make a budget or money plan. We would work together to figure out how much money she would be able to save each month. Maita’s only significant expenses would be on food and rent, which we spent a lot of time talking about together.
On a trip to a grocery store, Maita spent ages browsing the food aisles, picking up different items and asking me, “Wow what is this? How do you cook this?” Maita was inquisitive and was excited she would to be able to cook independently for herself again. Food was to be a big passion of Maita’s and she showed me lots of Burundi recipes that she wanted to cook as soon as she moved on to ROP.
When we went to her ROP transition meeting, Maita said so many times how grateful she is, and how happy she is. From the day she got accepted to ROP until the day she moved in, Maita was visibly happy.
The changes in Maita from when I met her to when she left for ROP are huge. She has become a lot more confident, more talkative with other youth and her youth workers, had saved a good chunk of money, and had vastly improved her English. If someone had told me way back in September that Maita would be singing karaoke with the other youth in the space, or doing embroidery in the evenings on the couch, I would have been so surprised. But this is what Maita progressed to by the New Year.
To me, Maita is a great example of the positive and life changing impact the Crisis Program can have for youth in Vancouver. I wish Maita every success and can’t wait to see where her journey takes her next.
Shared by Emma, Youth Worker at our Crisis Program