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Bert and Wilma

Bert and Wilma Visser

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Bert and Wilma's Blog

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Re-entry

2018-07-26

“What is Re-Entry? Re-entry is the experience a person has once they return to their primary culture (most likely the home culture in which they grew up) after having lived and adapted to a host culture (the foreign culture where they have been living). Culture is defined as the habits, customs and beliefs that characterize a particular social or ethnic group”. (p. 203 in Returning Well by Melissa Chaplin)
Wilma and I spent a week interacting with 18 other participants and 6 staff about re-entry into Canada. It was really good and encouraging to be able to listen and share with people dealing with many similar feelings and experiences as us.
At first, there is an excitement in returning to family, friends and all that we like about Canada.
But then there is chaos and frustration as we try to understand this new context – we have changed and Canadian culture has changed. We also are thinking more about what we have lost – our friends in Cameroon, aspects of life, fruitful ministry, etc.
The next stage is re-settling or striving to control more parts of our world in order to lower stress (like having our own home, vehicle, phone, internet…). We have been doing this quite quickly. This is helping us to feel more re-settled.
The final stage normally is becoming settled in the primary culture again (for us, eastern Canada). This may mean varying degrees of integration or marginalization. We want good healthy relationships here, but we also want to be true to how God has changed us by living in Cameroon for 19 years. I am less certain of which direction that I will go – integration or marginalization. I feel pulled in both ways. I want to integrate so that I have healthy relationships with others. I do not want to integrate into the busy-ness and materialism, nor be judgmental about these. I want to love God and love my neighbour so that God is glorified in every aspect of my life.

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