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January, 2005 - Nr. 1

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Letter from the Editor

GS Hospitality Connections

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister  

Dear Reader

Who was not shocked to hear of the terrible disaster that hit 11 countries within such a short time with such immense power? And who did not think of this flood in terms of biblical proportions? The "Vergleich/analogy" is obvious: only an arch out in deep-sea waters could survive such an abundance of misplaced water in low-lying waterfront countries. Severe shifting of huge underwater plates, beneath which volcanic activities are violently active, has happened many times on this planet and shaped its appearance. Some of Earth’s most beloved real estate is fairly recent, as we know, often created by volcanic activities that create mountains in the middle of the ocean, such as Hawaii.

In the past millennia when it happened most the rest of the world did not know about it or heard about it; such events were passed on as fables and stories, or they found their way into the religious philosophies and folklore of most cultures in some form or other.

And always we hope that something like this will stay there - in the dim past of our ancestors, as stories to tell and read about, illustrating the tremendous resilience of the human race to recover and bounce back.

At no time were we better equipped to deal with such disasters. The rest of the world, all of us, know about it quicker than some of the people that are actually in the middle of it and do not know what hit them.

By now we have heard so much about this historical event that I will not belabour it more than necessary, and then only to put it into some semblance of reality, so we can actually get on with our lives.

To enjoy or not to enjoy winter

Our front page shows a family that was not involved in this occurrence, yet these people have their own story to tell, a story worth telling, especially in the context of the Christmas season.

Already in November I heard first about a little girl named Zoe, who came to Canada with most of her family to receive help from our oh so amazing doctors at Sick Childrens Hospital in Toronto. The family arrived in July and Zoe underwent a series of treatments to save her eyesight in the only one eye she had left. She was born with a very rare form of cancer, that already robbed her of one useful eye and there was very little hope that she would keep the other eye. But she was blessed with a mother and father who would not give up, no matter what the medical doctors in Germany said, who had reached the end of their wisdom, and eventually were referred to Toronto. Within days the family had to decide to sell off all animals and make living arrangements for the two oldest children (there are 6 all together), they live on a small farm, and come here. The faster their arrival, the better the chances would be…time meant everything…

The decision proved to be the right one. Today little Zoe, - she turned 3 years old on Christmas Day! - has an eye she can see with, an eye saved by two amazing doctors. There were complications, which lengthened the families’ stay by several month, driving the medical cost and living expenses up by much. And even though there are institutions that help, such as the German Cancer Association, it is not enough. All avenues have been exhausted and we are in need of finding around 25 thousand dollars to pay the remaining medical bills.

The family is living very inexpensively, all 6 of them, in a one room and bath place in Ronald McDonald House. They need help, our help!

Yes, we are helping already the many overseas, but we cannot close our hearts to those that knock on our very own door.

The German Canadian Business Association has already contributed to the school 3 of the children attend, so their education is not neglected while they are here with Zoe and their parents. With the help of Volkswagen Canada we are reaching out to the community to help this wonderful family, this extraordinary little girl that has already suffered so much in her 3 years of life.

The Szauter family, or the Forget-Me-Nots, as you know them, are giving 2 concerts to benefit this family’s needs on January 23 and 30. A trust account exists already, into which anyone can pay, regardless of where one lives.

It has been said that a person’s worth can be measured by his or her willingness to help. I know that we are a great bunch of people. We do much in many different places, but we always do it quietly. Is it not time to stand up and tall and be accounted for?

I know that the Szauters are giving also a benefit concert for the Tsunami relief fund, as so many others have already done. The Hansa Club collected nearly 17 hundred dollars on New Year’s Eve, $400 of that was from the club itself. We are all pulling together to make things go right, and we are also doing it for those people that are right in front of us.

Please come and contribute in the spirit of the season, in the spirit in which we all win and make a better future together.

There is another article written in German giving more and other detail, and the advertisement will tell you were to come for an unforgettable evening of music and joy. (Two churches: Glebe Church and another in Aurora) Thus we give and receive. It is a win-win situation. We can make a difference, especially if we all pull together!

Then we will have a Happy New Year!

Wishing you all the best

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister


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