Claudia’s story: This is my home.

I am a landed immigrant from Mexico. I moved to the False Creek are in 1995. Since then I have felt comfortable with this community. I believe that the people who come to the False Creek Community Centre and live around this are what make this community a healthy, friendly and safe place to live.

Vancouver Story ClaudiaI still remember the first time I arrived in False Creek. I was walking on the seawall, amazed by the green areas; the creek; the sunlight reflected on the buildings across the water and the mountains. When I got to Granville Island, my first impression was that time stopped here. I loved the old-fashioned factory buildings, the art studios, the public markets and the bridge; all combined to make the place a unique spot in Vancouver. I thought, I want to stay.

I started at the community centre as a volunteer, meeting people and learning the new culture and language. Most importantly, I was becoming part of the community. I have always appreciated that it was here that I learned to play tennis and started to be involved in fitness and other activities. It was here where I met my friends and learned how great Vancouver is. I still love my native country, but now this where my home is.

By: Claudia Arreola ~ A Vancouver Story No. 6

Granville Island

Because We Are Girls

girlsBecause we are girls
Father wants us to stay home
Because we are girls
Mother wants us to be free

Because we are girls
Father does not want us to go to school
Because we are girls
Mother wants us to be educated

Because we are girls
Father wants us to follow the custom
Because we are girls
Mother wants us to have our own mind

Because we are girls
Father wants us to do as told
Because Mother is a girl
Mother told Father to go to hell

Mother made it happen for the girls.

I wrote this in memory of my Mother who raised 13 children: 7 girls and 6 boys. The girls had equal opportunity as the boys, to be educated. All of her children finished higher education. Even though my Mother had only 4 years of elementary education, she had given us what we need in order to rise above poverty. Education is one of the best gifts a parent can bestow to her children and we are forever grateful to Mother.

This is also written to celebrate International Women’s Day from March 1 to 8, 2015.