Abni Rego

Christmas far from home

Canada World Youth are celebrating the holidays in Sooke

Participants of the Canada World Youth Sooke-South Africa team have been living in the area for about two weeks, readying themselves for future work placements and community involvement.

The Sooke News Mirror  caught up with two of the program participants to find out their first impressions of Vancouver Island and what they hope to gain from their experience living and volunteering on the West Coast.

Lebo Tsiutu, 24, originally from Bethlehem, Free State, South Africa, is a graduate of Cape Town University with a major in International Relations.

“I joined the program because I wanted to challenge myself with something and I wanted to like a cultural exchange,” Tsuitu said. “I also joined the program because I wanted to make a difference to my community in South Africa.”

She also hopes to learn more about Canadian culture and history.

Hailing from Toronto, Abni Rego, 22, is young graduate from the University of Toronto with a degree in History.

As a new graduate, Ergo signed up for the cultural exchange program to do some soul searching.

“I wanted to do something that was completely different than anything I’d experienced before, and this totally opened my eyes to a new direction for my life after the program,” she said, adding she hopes to learn more about First Nations history and culture.

“I’m really excited to get involved with the T-Sou-ke Nation and learn more about them.”

Both women had positive impressions when they arrived in Sooke, and stated residents have welcomed them with open arms. They also marvelled at Sooke’s pristine and rugged wilderness.

“For me, coming from South Africa, I thought I was coming home to Canada, and I discovered a whole different culture and a whole different way of life,” Rego said. “I’m from a big city, and it’s so exciting to be in a community where people know each other.”

Along with volunteering at local not-for-profit establishments, the Sooke-South Africa team will be fundraising for Beyond Schools, an after school program in the Cape Flats region of South Africa  that will address youth violence, gangsterism and substance abuse.

After living in the Cape Flats area for about three months during the first phase of the program, both Tsiutu and Rego agreed there is a need for Beyond Schools.

“Currently in South Africa we have a lot of challenges sending kids to school, so I think through that program we’ll be able to lay out a foundation for little kids to be able to get the proper education,” Tsiutu said.

The Sooke-South Africa team consists of 17 youth from across Canada and South Africa. Prior to their arrival in Sooke on Dec. 6, the team was in Athlones and Bonnievale for about three months.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police are asking for people's help identifying the suspect of a sexual assault that occurred early Oct. 29. (Black Press Media file photo)
VicPD searching for suspect in sexual assault incident

A woman was sexually assaulted at the 800-block of Cormorant Street just before 4 a.m. Oct. 29

Artists, activists and supporters stand at the ‘More Justice, More Peace’ mural in Victoria’s Bastion Square after the letter ‘S’ was painted over in black. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
ACAB removed from Victoria’s More Justice, More Peace mural

New message points to VicPD, City of Victoria for silencing BIPOC voices

Sooke’s Paul Larouche gold snipes along Sooke River, a process in which he uses a mask and snorkel to find pieces of gold. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Hitting the jackpot: Sooke man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

Sooke RCMP are looking to add more members on their force, but they will have to seek approval from the District of Sooke before doing so. They say they need five additional members to accommodate 24-hour coverage of the region. (File - Black Press Media)
Sooke needs more officers to accommodate 24-hour coverage

District’s official community plan calls for 1 officer per 1,000 people

An incident on Sooke Road is slowing traffic Wednesday evening. (Courtesy of Mona Hazeldine)
Second driver not found after Sooke Road crash snarls evening traffic

Two vehicles involved in rear-end crash Wednesday evening

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as fake Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Pilot Kevin Maher participated in a flyover of a ceremony at the Cobble Hill cenotaph on Oct. 22 in a 1940 North American (Noorduyn) Harvard aircraft. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cobble Hill remembers lost military members with ceremony, flyover

Annual event commemorates those who died in non-combat roles

Adam Ireton holds his son Weston, along with Kristen and Beckett as they celebrate Weston's last day of treatment for lukemia. (Kristen Ireton photo)
799 days: ‘Super’ Weston defeats cancer

‘Weston is disease-free now, so we will be going into a period of checkups and things until he’s 18’

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Most Read