THUNDER BAY – It was an emotional sight at Thunder Bay International Airport Wednesday, a Ugandan family was reunited after nearly 26 years apart with the help of Saint Agnes Church.
“There’s no way that I can explain, I’m so excited, happy, joyful, oh my god, 15 years of process, I can’t believe it, this is God who did it. We got turned down, and God lifted up, and see, they’re here, I can’t believe it, thank you Jesus, thank you God, for making it happen,” said Mary Geria, a member of the family who was able to come over in 2002 on sponsorship with Saint Agnes Church.
In 2007, a member of Saint Agnes Church brought forward the story of the family to the church, and in 2008 the church began filing to have the family brought into Thunder Bay from a refugee camp in Uganda.
“There were more forms, and more forms, and adding people to the application, this went on for 10 years, until 2018, and then what happened? The family was refused, they were turned down,” said Larry Chlebovec, refugee sponsorship program coordinator.
“So, we managed to find a lawyer, and we went to court, and we were successful, and what happens is, the judge can’t overrule the decision of a visa officer, but, what he can do is ask the visa office to go back and look at this again, so they did that again, and a few years later, we got a decision that they were eligible to come.”
Finally, the family was allowed to enter Canada, they landed first in Toronto and then the next day flew into Thunder Bay, the family will be quarantined and immunized now that they are here, as they were not able to receive vaccinations in the Ugandan refugee camp due to a rise of fake vaccines being sold and administered to refugees.