To hear the audio introduction to A Homeless Vet’s Journey, click the play button below:
We drove downtown and found the location of the Embassy. We were given a piece of paper with instructions on how to obtain a baptismal certificate.
With all the fandangling and hoops that we have had to negotiate, it was a sure relief to at last find something straight forward and simple!
Here are the instructions from the Embassy: “For a copy of your <Europian> birth certificate please contact the church where your birth was registered. If you do not have that information, please contact the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs in <Europe>. Make sure to include all the information you have about your birth.”
Finally! Some concrete help!
Kurk could not remember the town or parish where he was baptised, so we called the telephone number listed on the helpful sheet of paper from the Embassy in Ottawa.
The first number, the one listed, did not help. They redirected to another number.
(Note 1: It is a six hour time delay between Canada and <Europe>
Note 2: It appears that the parish offices are operational only for a few hours a few days of the week.
Note 3: Surprise! <Europe> parishes and offices speak <Europian>! ALL answering machines in <Europian> only).
This number, when I finally got through, directed me to another number. When I found someone who actually spoke enough English to give me some help, he just said, “No.”
I thought that he did not understand my request, so I politely reworded. Again, he said, “No.”
Hard to believe. I tried a third time to explain the dilemma that Kurk could not acquire any monies until he had two sources of identification, one of which was the birth certificate in question, and once again said, “No,” and promptly hung up the telephone.
Another number and, of course, I was redirected to yet another number, where finally we found the parish where Kurk was baptised, and after listening to our request, they informed me that they would send an email with the copy of the Birth Certificate, to the Embassy in downtown Ottawa.
Eight weeks later, we are still waiting…
Ken MacLaren, Executive Director
Comment: The ‘waiting’ part – let’s consider that for a moment. Waiting for Kurk is very UNlike any waiting that most of us have done. Kurk is now living ‘in the rough’, on the streets, sleeping in doorways out of the wind (when possible) – and he is 70! He moves during the day from program to program – all the while he is eligible for money that is his due. Not welfare or Ontario Disability, but Canada Pension, Old Age Pension, and superannuation – all of which he has earned and every right to! The clock ticks on…
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(Kurk’s Journey is a 10-Part Series. Stay tuned for Part 5)