Saturday, March 28, 2015
Oh Canada, je vous remercie pour votre hospitalité.
This past week Ian and I have been guests of the Egg Farmers of Canada in Ottawa, Canada. While we are told that it is “spring” here, the -15C (33 F) weather, snow on the ground and grey skies seem to contradict that belief.
The purpose of this part of our trip was to be here for the official launch of the partnership between Heart for Africa and the Egg Farmers of Canada. This included media interviews and many meetings on Parliament Hill with Members of Parliament who may (or may not) be interested in what we are doing in Swaziland.
We were completely out of our “comfort zone” and on days where it was a 122F (50C) difference in temperature between Ottawa and Swaziland, our hearts were warmed by the friendly welcome that we received by every one we met.
Thursday was a particularly interesting day as we were invited to speak at the Standing Committee on Foreign and International Development. We were considered “witnesses” and were brought in before the committee as “experts” on what is happening on the ground in Swaziland.
We met with the Chairman and a Member of this Committee on Wednesday and they were interested enough in what we were doing in Swaziland that they extended our time on Thursday from 60 minutes to 90 minutes.
It was a fascinating experience and we started by reading a 7 minute written introduction that we had to submit the week before so that it could be translated in to French (all things in Canadian government are in both French and English). From there, the committee members had a “first round” of questions, which gave each Member of Parliament 7-minutes to ask us questions and for us to answer them. Once the first round of questions was finished, then the second round was made up of 5-minute time slots of questions and answers.
All dialogue was either in English and interpreted into French or in French and interpreted into English. When questions were asked in French, we put an earpiece in our ears and listened to the interpreted question. When we answered in English the interpreter changed it back in to French for the MP. It was an exhausting, but interesting experience, and we sincerely hope that the Canadian government will be able to come alongside Heart for Africa and assist us in the future.
For those Canadians reading this, we will be on Breakfast Television on Monday, March 30th at 6:20 AM. CTV Ottawa is doing a feature on us that will air on the evening news on Thursday, April 2nd at 6:25 PM.
We are enjoying this time at “home” where the Tim Horton’s coffee is hot, the air outside is cold, much of the conversation around us is not in English (or siSwati) and the people are friendly and supportive.
Thank you again Tim Lambert, Peter Clarke and the Egg Farmers of Canada for your love and support. We are proudly Canadian.
Live from our Nation’s Capitol … we are flying to Toronto.