What can you do, today, to make PEACE? This question came to me today via a beautiful cause.
What can I do, indeed? I can share how PEACE can happen and how I/we can make a difference in other people’s lives and have the next generation be better off because of our efforts.
Peace, I like the sound of that!
In 1999, my husband and I were blessed to be able assist some refugee families from Kosovo. Our task was to assist them with daily things; shopping, banking, getting them to doctors appointments, etc. Little did we know, at the time, that 13 years later we would have created bonds with so many folks who are part of our extended family. I won’t talk of the war, as I’m not capable of that and there are far better sources.
What I can share, how one child was carried in his mama’s belly. His Mom walked for 24 hours, stayed in a refugee camp and then was relocated to Canada. Teuta, the mother told me, she just did what she had to do. As I listened to their stories, I couldn’t imagine their strife. Everything was strange to them. They were not on vacation. They were transplanted, under horrific conditions, to another country. All around us, always, were children. They laughed and giggled and helped us all get through… and then;
A Child was born. Flamur Haxhiavdija came into the world with flaming red hair and a smile. To this day he smiles and jokes and loves. His name means ‘flag’ and in my mind Flamur carries the flag of Peace.
I interviewed Flamur.
I remember when I met you, your bright shiny eyes lit up the room. You were a ray of hope and love to all of us after what your family went through. I’ve always enjoyed being around you and talking with you. You are, I believe, an old soul!
When I learned that you were the valedictorian for your grade seven class, I was touched and proud beyond words! YOU had to be included in my blog about inspirational folks and happenings.
How old were you when you came to Canada?
I was 7 months, in my mothers’ belly
How old are you today?
I just turned 13.
You are very close to your immediate family, your extended family and your honourary family (like us). What does family mean to you?
It means I have people that love me and take care of me and I have younger people I can take care of. I know I always have them through thick and thin and they would walk to the ends of the world for me. There are countless things they would do for me. My honourary family, even when I don’t spend much time with them, I know whenever something is needed they will help. Especially how you and Chris helped me and my family move to Canada. Also, I count my “distant” family as immediate family.
What inspires and/or motivates you?
I am inspired by what people have accomplished after what they have gone through. I am also motivated by what I can be and what others have done. I want people to know me and to become successful.
Do you know why you were chosen valedictorian? How did you feel about being chosen?
I was chosen because my friends nominated me, then we had a vote and I was chosen. I felt happy because I knew I could make my family and classmates proud.
I know you could be prime minister if you choose to! Do you have any idea of what you want to be/do after high school?
I would like to do something like snowboarding or professional hockey player but that is a dream I am trying to achieve. My more realistic dream is to become a lawyer.
Do you have a mentor, someone who you look up to and who you’d like to emulate?
I look at my mom and dad and what they have been through and what they accomplished; raising three children and being so wise. When I grow up I wish to accomplish as much as my parents.
What is your favourite subject in school? AND if it’s different what subject do you get the best grades in?
I like P.E. and math and I get A’s in both subjects.
Do you have hobbies and if so what are they?
I like to go outside and play with my friends, play video games, and snowboard.
Do you enjoy sports? What ones? Do you play any?
I love playing and watching sports. I play hockey competitively and watch soccer and hockey. I love soccer but play hockey. I especially love snowboarding.
I am happy that I live here.
You live in a truly multi-cultural city, do you believe equality for all is possible for your generation?
I hope so. So far it is because in our generation many things have passed even when there is still hate we can all be friends.
Where are your parents from in Kosovo?
My mom is from Prishtina and my dad is from Gjakova and I was born in Canada.
Flamur’s valedictorian speech!
Good morning parents, students, teachers, and classmates. Thank you for joining us at our ceremony. Our years at False Creek Elementary include many great memories and unforgettable times. Like the field trips during the winter Olympics, cross country skiing, and camping. We’ve made many friends from kindergarten all the way to grade 7 who we will now go to highschool with, be teenagers with, and grow up with. We’ve all learned many lessons during our elementary years. From one plus one to textbooks are for reading, not for sleeping on, Also, what do we do when the bell rings? “ANDALE ANDALE!”
These lessons have shaped us into who we are today.
All men dream, but not equally.
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.~ T.E. Lawrence-
But I would like to say the dreamers of the day in this class will not be dangerous but will be successful and will accomplish great things. Even though we are very happy to be moving on to high school there is no doubt we will miss False Creek. Even if we don’t miss it now later in life we will.
On behalf of the class of 2012, I would like to thank our parents and teachers for their unconditional support and guidance throughout our journey. Many thanks to Mr. Proctor for being with our class for the past two years and taking us on so many field trips. Cultus Lake was one of the best field trips we’ve had, and I have the sunburn to prove it! Mr. Proctor has given us much advice, like “try to be on time more often” and “Slow plankton sink very slowly,”. All jokes aside Mr. Proctor has helped us so much and prepared us for high school. No matter how much we want to leave elementary school and move onto our next wild journey called high school we will miss the easy homework, the teachers we grew up with and friendships and memories made. Congratulations and good luck to the False Creek graduating class of 2012.
So a baby was born to bring peace and he brought so much more, to so many more.
Go forth and prosper, Flamur! I LOVE you!
UPDATE: Flamur was alos Valedictorian of his grade 12 class… he’s an inspiration!
For more on creating peace go here.
Inspire someone today!
Not feeling it? Be Kind. Be Generous. Be LOVE!
For an inspired vacation…