Syrian refugee family happy to call Castlegar home
A Syrian refugee family who came to live in Castlegar in mid-October of this year has generated a lot of curiosity in the community. To that end, the Castlegar Refugee Project arranged an interview, in Arabic, to answer some of the most frequently-asked questions.
“This is an interview conducted by a young pre-medical student, Adib Malas, with the new Syrian refugee family,” said project volunteer Julie Leffelaar . “He did the interview in Arabic, and translated their answers. He and another pre-med Selkirk Student, a young lady named Zakeeya Hanafy, have given endless hours of time to families in Castlegar, Nelson and Rossland to aid in their first few months of life in Canada. The Castlegar Refugee Project is deeply grateful that these committed young people have been so generous, considering their burdens as students. “
The interview was as follows:
Question:Which part of Syria are you from?
Answer:Southern suburbs of Damascus in a city, he lived in a city called Khirbet Al-Ward in the southern suburbs of Damascus.
Question: How long have you been out of Syria? I (we) have been out of Syria for a year and 10 months. Twenty months of that period was in Turkey.
Question: Tell us a little about each person in the family. What are they like, their ages, talents, personalities?
Answer: Omar is 32 years old. His hobbies are photography, drawing, learning crafts, hairdressing, and fine woodworking, as well as carving. He worked in a restaurant as a salad maker, fish cook and butcher. He also butchered sheep and chicken, and did barbeque. He would like to learn about driving more, despite having a full license. When asked about his personality, he said that he is like milk. When it boils, it seethes, but when you cool it down, it calms down. Amna pitched in and said he is calm and his heart is white.
Amna is a 24-year-old who enjoys drawing and reading. She also likes learning English, cooking, teaching her children, as well as making desserts. She describes herself as emotional and quick to cry, especially with how homesick she feels right now and from the war. Dad pitched in to say she is very patient.
Hussein is seven years old, also a big fan of drawing, and feels very enthusiastic about studying. He would like to become a smart doctor and learn many languages. He also enjoys riding his bicycle. (The interviewer) witnessed him teaching his dad about “high fives.”
Obada, six years old, enjoys horseback riding, also would like to be a doctor and (likes to) ride his bicycle around. He enjoys sports and school.
Taim, three years old, enjoys looking at colorful books and playing around. (The interviewer) also watched him do the Syrian dance, which was remarkable.
Question: Tell us what you think of Canada, the stores, the weather, the traffic … anything about Canada.
Answer:They said Canada is a good, beautiful country. Its people are respectful and have good intentions. They are happy to be where they currently are and they enjoyed the International Dance Show that was hosted by Selkirk College not so long ago. They said it is really cold. They are enjoying the sight of snow. Omar mentioned that he believes every season has its beauty, and this season’s beauty is the snow. They mentioned that they are enjoying how there is no traffic, unlike where they were living in Turkey.
Last question:What are your hopes and dreams for your first year in Canada?
Answer:They would like to learn the language and integrate within the community. They hope to be independent and learn the eh-mazing Canadian accent.