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Ruth Miranda
First Job in Canada

Time 0:01:49


And it was—I was so extremely happy because this happen in November and I knew I was going to have money for my children for Christmas. That was the first thing that came to my mind. “Oh, I will have money for my kids, the Christmas for my children.” So I start to work and, it wasn’t only cleaning house it was a lot of personal care. I didn’t know, I—I was—I remember—and most of the clients were from England originally, or from Scotland, or from Ireland because that’s the people who came to live in Victoria. The people from Scotland I couldn’t understand, me without very limited English, and the way they spoke and I couldn’t understand. And one of the lady was on, on the oxygen, and those beautiful apartment and she stayed there all seniors there, and on oxygen, so they sent me for lunch so I’m supposed to prepare the lunch for her, or the breakfast. So I understood the eggs, I understood the fried egg and so on. But then when I took it to her she was asking me for something and I couldn’t understand. And I understood there was a bottle in the refrigerator. When I opened the door of the refrigerator it was full of bottles, but I knew the word bottle. So you know what I did, I put a whole bunch of bottles in my arm and I went to her in the bedroom and she look and said. So I put those back and got another one and she—it was ketchup. (laughs)

Ruth Miranda was born in Los Sauces, Chile in 1951. Following the military coup in Chile on September 11, 1973, life became increasingly dangerous for Ruth and her family. Both Ruth and her husband Pedro supported the former president Salvador Allende and were under constant threat for their political beliefs. They decided to immigrate to Canada after talking to Pedro’s brother who had come to Winnipeg, Manitoba as a refugee shortly after the coup. Ruth, Pedro and their children immigrated to Winnipeg in 1979 and moved to Victoria, British Columbia shortly after.

The transition to life in Canada was very difficult and the family ended up moving back to Chile in 1986. However, the conditions there were challenging as the country was still under a dictatorship. The family returned to Victoria after only a year and a half in Chile. In Victoria, Ruth initially worked as a house cleaner and home health care provider. She later found work with the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, offering settlement support to new immigrants. Ruth has been with the organization for over 23 years.

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