Fall is my favourite season. I love to watch the colours of the trees change from green to the “orangey” and yellow hues.
There is something so refreshing and tranquil about autumn.
Although it felt as if the summer season was too short, the cooler temperature is still a soothing change for us Filipinos who are so accustomed to hot and humid weather.
Several groups of Filipino workers have arrived this year. More than 100 new HyLife employees came to Neepawa in the past few months.
They were welcomed by the warm “still summer” weather but are now faced with temperatures as low as 1 degree Celsius when they leave for work every morning.
October last year, we started a “Winter Jacket Drive” of which several kind-hearted citizens of Neepawa and from the surrounding areas donated their old parkas. Our sunroom was filled with bags of jackets, scarves and toques.
The workers were very grateful to those who contributed to the cause. We distributed the winter apparel to the newcomers who were temporarily situated at the Neepawa Motel and duplexes in town.
The Filipino Association of Neepawa and Area (FANA) will continue the jacket drive which starts on Oct. 1 of this year.
The group is also planning to come up with an “information drive” to educate the newcomers on how to prepare for the winter season. We will distribute posters and flyers which will include tips on how to dress and some reminders about driving on snow.
In the past four years, we Filipinos, have observed the generosity of our new neighbors.
Our Canadian friends have extended their hands to assist us in getting accustomed to a whole new way of life.
As early as August of this year, a number of groups have expressed their willingness to give “once-loved” clothing items, furniture and household materials.
We Filipinos are very thankful to those who have showed genuine concern to our countrymen which makes the transition so much easier for them.
In return, a number of our group's volunteers gave their time and talent by providing entertainment in some community events such as the kick off or “tailgate” party of the Neepawa Natives last September 20th. One of the Filipino bands, the “Rush”, came out to play a few songs at the Yellowhead Centre.
One of our FANA officers, Rochelle Unico, represented the Filipino community when she joined the Heart and Stroke Foundation's “Big Bike Ride” last Sept. 17.
The Filipino Cultural Dancers performed at the Neepawa Personal Care Home (Country Meadows) last Aug. 31. The residents were amazed to see the unique Filipino traditional dances.
The enthused audience expressed their gratitude to the dancers, as one of the residents said, “Thanks for sharing your beautiful culture with us.”
As I indicated in my past articles, one of the Filipinos' dominant traits is having a great sense of gratitude to those who have helped us.
We feel that we have a “debt of honour” to people who offer support.
This is coupled by our sense of comradeship that we have for those who have done a lot for us.
As more and more community groups in Neepawa continue to show their interest by encouraging us to join them, we are more than willing to assist in any way we can.
FANA believes that these volunteer activities are instrumental in reaching for our goal of integration and our own small way of saying, “Thank you.”
FOR “WINTER JACKET DRIVE” DONATIONS: DROP-OFF CENTRE WILL BE AT THE SUNROOM LOCATED AT 282 THIRD AVENUE, NEEPAWA.