Members of Cafe Brazil enjoyed a Christmas get-together on Dec. 17 at the Social-eyes Student Lounge at Burman University. Photo submitted

Members of Cafe Brazil enjoyed a Christmas get-together on Dec. 17 at the Social-eyes Student Lounge at Burman University. Photo submitted

Cafe Brazil helps Portuguese-speaking newcomers to the Lacombe

With the goal of creating a strong sense of community, Cafe Brazil helps Portuguese-speaking newcomers to Lacombe.

The group offers conversation and grammar lessons in English/Portuguese and provides a space for fellowship and support.

“Cafe Brazil was initiated from one of the Life Groups at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Lacombe,” explained Rute Prescod, the group’s founder.

“We have different groups for the community – it’s not about bringing people to church, it’s about helping the community – it’s a community group that is open to everybody,” she said.

“I felt impressed to get the group together because I work as a federal inspector in meat processing, and I meet a lot of new immigrants, including Brazilian people, at Canadian Premium Meats.

“What is happening is that these people need to improve their English skills, and they need to learn about the culture. Some of them approached me for help, and I said okay! So we decided to do this Life Group, and the church provides the space.”

Meetings focus on everything from grammar and English classes to just spending time together playing games and socializing. Folks from the Lacombe community are also more than welcome to join and help those who are working on their language skills, too.

Prescod said many immigrants are on their own as they settle into the city, and they really appreciate a local community where they can make connections and form friendships.

“That is the idea with the group – to get people together,” she explained, adding that some who attend meetings are members of the church, some are students, and others are working in the community.

“Some people also come and interact with the group so they get a grasp of what the community is all about,” she said, adding that Cafe Brazil started up this past summer.

They’ve had games nights, a Thanksgiving dinner, and a Christmas get-together was planned for Dec. 17 at the Social-eyes Student Lounge at Burman University.

Again, English-speaking folks are welcome to join in these events, and also encouraged to perhaps volunteer some time to spend with someone who would like to work on their own English skills and also learn more about Canadian culture in general.

“That helps a lot,” she said. “What I hear from the newcomers is that they feel like they have some support – if they need help with translation or communicating, or maybe help with where to go for help with processing documents (for example). We can help!

“If there is anyone out there who needs help, or who would like to volunteer, or maybe learn a little Portuguese and help out, they are more than welcome.”

For more about Cafe Brazil, call Rute Prescod at 226-750-6766 or find them on WhatsApp.

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