Our Next Journey: Waupoos Farm in Ottawa, Ontario
We have arrived! After a whirlwind month and a half of visiting family and friends, Tristan, Benedict and I drove across this vast country of ours and in 5 days, landed ourselves in Ottawa. Rebecca and the other 4 children, flew out 9 days later and arrived on Aug. 17th.
What is Waupoos Family Farm?
From the website:
The Waupoos Foundation was created in 1975 by Fr. Fred Magee of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Fr. Magee and a team of volunteers transformed the Oblate family farm on Waupoos Island (near Picton, Ontario) into a vacation place for low-income families. The name Waupoos is an Ojibway word for rabbit, and was given to the island because of its rabbit-like shape. - www.waupoos.com
In 1980, it was determined that a location closer to Ottawa would be more accessible to families. The island facilities were closed and work began on the Oblate farm on Rideau Road. In 1982, Waupoos Family Farm opened at its current location.
What is our job?
There are three families that look after the cabins, maintenance, animals and land and of course meet the needs (physical, emotional, spiritual) of the campers when the arrive.
Here is our little cottage in the woods.
In the picture we see our shed next to the house and on the far left are the bunny cages.
During the summer weeks, we have Holy Mass outdoors and here Fr. Charlie is setting up the altar.
The video below will give a tour of the farm:
Here is the outdoor pool. In the summer months we hire a life guard and provide swimming lessons for the children during the week.
Benedict at the pool.
Becca nursing Thomas ... sorry you can't see Thomas in this picture ...
And here is our motto: Pray, Work, Play.
And here is what our small cottage looks like inside:
During this past summer, there was pony rides for the children ... Here is Katie.
And also during the week, Ray's Reptile Zoo came to introduce their animals to us:
How are we making ends meet financially?
This is a good question. We aren't really ... yet. We receive baby money from the Child Tax Benefits and this gives us enough money for food and to have a vehicle and to pay utilities. We pay for our rent through the work do on the farm.
My plan is to get a job. I'm quite qualified for many things and thought this would not be a difficult task. Well! Surprise! Surprise! I"m in a new world of regulatory boards and rules. Here has been my job seeking journey so far:
1. Apply to be a teacher. No - can't as you must be a substitute teacher for a year even if you're the best teacher in the world.
2. Apply to be a substitute teacher. No. - the Ontario College of Teachers (like our AB ATA) has refused to certify me until they can designate me to a specific set of grades that I will only be allowed to teach. I have a B.Ed in Elementary with a Middle School Major and this is unheard of. Two months later - they still can't decide what to designate me as.
3. Apply to be a before/after school supervisor: No. I have to certified.
4. Apply to private schools. No. Not hiring.
5. Apply to be a tutor with the Ontario tutoring organizations. No. I'm from AB and I don't know the curriculum.
6. Apply to the B. Education program to teach a course at the U. of Ottawa. No. They hire certified teachers and I'm not certified.
7. Apply to the B. Education program to be a research assistant at the U of Ottawa. No. They hire their own students.
8. Apply to be a social worker in group homes with youth and children. No. I have to be certified with the Social Work regulatory board.
9. Apply to Social Work regulatory board. No. I can't be registered with them because I was a student for the last 4 years.
10. Hmmm... I'm getting creative now: I'll use my theatre experience and offer Artist in Residence programs for the schools. No. I have to registered with the Ontario Arts Regulatory Board.
11. Apply to Ontario of Arts Regulatory Board. No. I have to have lived in Ontario for a year first.
12. Hmmm... when I was a teen ager I worked for Superstore ... Apply to Costco. No. Or not yet anyways...
13. Apply to be relief bus driver for the school boards as I used to do this long ago. This is my plan for tomorrow.
Any other ideas?
I have to admit, I am fighting a bit of discouragement over this ... it's been a tough few weeks ... But I'm trusting in God as I do believe He has us here for a reason.
If anyone of you wishes to become a monthly sponsor of the Biffert Missionary Family at Waupoos, we would be grateful and blessed.
I'm using the time, when I'm not applying for jobs or working on the farm to develop a website/ministry as a Catholic Evangelist - offering Missions at Parishes, speaking on the right thinking of St. Thomas Aquinas, writing, and speaking on fatherhood and masculinity and hopefully moving people one step closer to our Great God in Heaven. I'll keep you posted on this front.
Many blessings to all of you! God is good.
Kenton, Rebecca, Winter, Tristan, Benedict, Katie, Tavi, Thomas
I'll end with a few morning photos I took: