By Vlad Umnov
Lourdes calls herself a “very strong woman”. A few years ago, she lost everything – her independence, her home, her mobility. But you would never believe it if you met this smiling, energetic woman.
Lourdes came to Canada from Mexico City in the 1990s. “I have been living in this beautiful country for almost 25 years.” She has worked as a cleaner in homes and offices, in a baseball uniform factory, in a warehouse, and for an aircraft cleaning company.
Her life was full of energy, activity, and positive emotions, until Christmas Day five years ago. That day she felt unwell. It was very bad – she couldn’t feel her fingers. Doctors discovered a terrible disease. On December 30, she was admitted to the hospital, where she spent the New Year and many days after that.
“At that time, I was so lucky that I lived in Canada. The doctors helped me not only to survive but also to recover.”
After surgery, her life changed dramatically. She had lost a lot. She had no money to pay for rent. She lost her mobility and her energy. She needed a lot of strength to recover.
Suddenly, I discovered the Mennonite Centre. My daughter’s classmate mentioned that her mother works in the Centre that helps immigrants. It was MNLCT. I called her. With the first visit, my life changed.”
Lourdes discovered the Spanish-speaking Women’s Group. It was so helpful and relaxing for her that she continues to meet her friends there. She took LIGHTS classes to improve her English. She was helped by the Settlement team to prepare various documents.
Finally, she joined the Compassion-Focused Therapy Group. “Before visiting MNLCT, I cried every day. Now I prefer to laugh – I am a strong woman.”
Now Lourdes is truly a new woman. She swims every day. Every Saturday, she dances with her husband. Lourdes especially likes merengue.
“Mennonite New Life Centre of Toronto has a lot of angels. Thank you all for helping me to be myself again.”