English as a second language assistance available

Newcomers to Canada start guest ranch in South Cariboo

By Mary Packham

A hectic lifestyle, the need to board their horses, and the high cost of buying land in Germany convinced Wolfgang and Barbara Pessler that Canada was right for them.

After four trips and much searching, they bought and enlarged a 1920s home near Green Lake on a quarter section of land and started the Graham Dunden Ranch Guest Ranch where they keep 10 horses.

Wolfgang and Barbara have trained for and volunteer as first responders and firefighters in the Watch Lake area. Wolfgang also works as a paramedic part time in 100 Mile House.

They heard about the local English as a Second Language Settlement Assistance Program (ESLSAP) and were assessed and matched with a volunteer tutor at Green Lake.

Kathy Wilson, their tutor, worked with them weekly for two years and they occasionally came to the English practice cafes.

Kathy was “incredible.” If Wolfgang and Barbara had questions, they found Kathy to be “very open, so there was nothing they couldn’t ask.”

She became almost like family and helped them learn how to express themselves in English and understand how things are different in Canada.

Kathy prepared grammar lessons, helped them with the English dictionary, and challenged them to learn difficult words and improve their pronunciation, reading and writing. She also helped them navigate idioms and words with multiple meanings.

Kathy even “dictated simple stories about her childhood, so it was like learning an interesting history lesson” about life in Canada.

To this day, if Wolfgang and Barbara feel insecure about something in English, they still call Kathy.

Wolfgang was recently asked to share his extensive paramedic expertise with our English Cafe group at the BC Ambulance Service in 100 Mile House – in English, his second language.

If you need ESL support or would like to attend any of our four types of English Cafes, or if you would like to become an ESLSAP tutor, please call Mary at 250-395-0404.