This past Sunday I met some of Kitchener’s Latvian community. My mother and I attended a church service held at the home of two of the KW area’s Daugavas Vanagi members. Hearing the language spoken, and the words I’ve been saying for years in my head (incorrectly, mind you) was an eye opener!
We met an old friend of my grandmother’s, who was even with my family members during their Labor Service days in Germany.
We met a Canadian-Latvian Lutheran parish pastor, and a pastor-in-training (forgive my lack of religious knowledge) along with his lovely wife from Aluksne, Latvia.
We met a man who had been in the same Latvian Resistance movement battalion as my opa Karlis Vinakmens back in Latvia. What are the chances both he and my grandfather ended up here in Kitchener? And against what odds is he still here today to be able to chat with me? Very interesting. In our short first meeting he told us some fascinating stories from Latvia already.
And lastly, we met our host and hostess of the day, who are involved with an organization called Tribute to Liberty, who aim to build a memorial to the (largely forgotten and overlooked by western society) victims of communism in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. They also have an interesting, extensive collection of excellent old photography from Latvia.