Community of Haut-Madawaska pitches in to welcome newcomers

·2 min read
Tado Ahoga, Yawo Mensah, Djamillatou Abassa and Aboudel-Kahr Adam are expected to arrive in Moncton later this week, where they will quarantine before heading to Haut-Madawaska with their families.  They are part of a group of 43 coming to New Brunswick from Togo. (Submitted - image credit)
Tado Ahoga, Yawo Mensah, Djamillatou Abassa and Aboudel-Kahr Adam are expected to arrive in Moncton later this week, where they will quarantine before heading to Haut-Madawaska with their families. They are part of a group of 43 coming to New Brunswick from Togo. (Submitted - image credit)

The rural community of Haut-Madawaska is soon to welcome 43 new residents to the area and people in the region are working hard to ensure they get a good start in the region.

Thirteen families will be immigrating from Togo in western Africa to the northern New Brunswick community.

Mayor Jean-Pierre Ouellet said the newcomers will only be bringing two suitcases each with them, so they need a lot of household goods to help them get set up.

Ouellet sent out the word via his Facebook page looking for goods to help out the newcomers, and he said the community stepped up.

"The response we have received, [it's] just amazing," said Ouellet.

"We almost have everything for the 13 apartments."

The basement of the church in Baker Brook is now filled with clothes, blankets, mattresses and other necessities awaiting the newcomers.

They're scheduled to arrive at the Moncton Airport on March 6 and will come to Haut-Madawaska after they've completed their two week isolation at hotels in Edmundston.

The families were supposed to come to the community a few months ago, but COVID-19 complicated their resettlement.

Immigration needed in community

Many of the newcomers have already found jobs at one of the region's largest employers, the Nadeau poultry processing plant.

Ouellet said there are more jobs than workers in the community, so immigration is key for Haut-Madawaska's growth.

Mayor Jean-Pierre Ouellet said the newcomers will only be bringing two suitcases each with them, so they need a lot of household goods.
Mayor Jean-Pierre Ouellet said the newcomers will only be bringing two suitcases each with them, so they need a lot of household goods.

"We have two processing plants in our area that need workers," said Ouellet.

"They could expand but they cannot because the workforce wasn't there. We also had other companies that had difficulty in getting the workers that they need."

Ouellet said over 100 people have moved to the region in the past two years to find work and the community is expecting a further 50 to come at some point this year.

Ouellet said the community is still looking for donations, and is in need of a couple of fridges and stoves.

Anything that isn't used by the 13 families coming in March will be saved for future newcomers.