day 10: dollarama ladies (jennifer, umme, & mi mi)

Day 10 Dollarama Ladies“men sometimes feel too proud to ask for help”

Sometimes the best conversations come from the most unexpected places. A trip to the dollar store ended up in a heart-warming, honest, and amazing conversation with three kind women. Meet Jennifer (left), Umme (middle), and Mi Mi (right).

Jennifer comes from Quebec where she worked at a nursing home with the elderly. She speaks tenderly as she recalls helping men and women from all walks of life, each of whom struggled with their own illness. Jennifer admits the men were usually the most hesitant to ask for help as many of them wanted to maintain their independence. I believe asking for help shows great strength.  We need to redefine what strength means.

Mi Mi opens up and tell me impassioned stories of love and loss in her move from Myanmar to Canada. Myanmar (Burma) has a complicated history. In my experience in South East Asia, I heard unbelievable stories from monks who fled the country. When Mi Mi came to Canada, her Master’s degree in Math and Science didn’t translate and began working outside her area of expertise. Our credentials may not always follow us, but our health is the one thing that is with us forever.

I went into the back room with them as we giggled snapping the photos. Whenever I approach someone, I never ask for donations. For me, I’m asking people to donate their time to have a discussion with me and hopefully continue the conversation about men’s health with others later. However, in the back room of the Dollar store, these women reached into their purses and collectively gave me $9 to donate to the campaign. They were proud of my work and wanted to support me in my efforts. I have never been so touched.

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