Gibsons author and stage performer Jean-Pierre Makosso was so glad to see his wife Yvette after 11 years apart that he ran to her — on his knees.
It happened at Vancouver International Airport on Sept. 17, after hours of waiting for Yvette to clear immigration.
“Finally, after five hours of waiting, she comes out,” Jean-Pierre recalled. “So I had the flowers. I knelt down and held up the flowers, and I was running, running, running.
“She cried tears and we were hugging each other and the people at the airport were all clapping.”
Showing the raw points of his knees, Jean-Pierre recreated the scene — minus the knee-running part — on the Gibsons wharf Monday afternoon.
Hearing the story again, Yvette, whose main language is French, raised her eyes to the sky, laughing and shaking her head.
Yvette’s arrival from the Congo was the culmination of years of effort by the couple, and their many supporters on the Sunshine Coast, to reunite the family in Canada. With both Jean-Pierre and Yvette now having residency status, the couple is waiting for their daughter Amanda, 21, to join them from Tunisia, where she is studying English. They hope she will be on the Coast before Christmas.
Yvette was given a welcome shower by Calvary Baptist Church at Chaster House the previous day, and a simple walk along the wharf brought out a stream of well-wishers.
“People are very kind here and I’m very happy to be here,” Yvette said. “It was a long time waiting to come to Canada.”
Asked if the place lives up to the billing her husband gave it, Yvette said she couldn’t find the words to answer.
“It’s very, very good,” she said.
The two were nervous about seeing each other after so long, but not scared, they said.
“It’s very difficult to explain,” said Yvette, “because we spoke all the time on the phone and it was like we were always together.”
Jean-Pierre said the reunion of his family had been the dream of the late Joni Thompson, who was instrumental in bringing him to Gibsons.
“That was her goal. So for me it was a promise. It had to happen,” he said,
When it did happen, it was what he and the community were waiting for, he said.
“Calvary Baptist Church and the community were waiting for this moment. Everyone was waiting for this moment. This is like a dream come true,” he added.
Even friends who were not church members went to the shower at Chaster House, he said.
“They just came for the joy of seeing that fulfilment.”
Also a stage actor, Yvette will perform with Jean-Pierre and Amanda in a production based on his poetry, but no date has been set. The focus now, said Jean-Pierre, is to bring Amanda home — to Gibsons.