Syrian refugees settling in to life in New Brunswick
Published Thursday, December 31, 2015 7:19PM AST
The new year marks a new beginning for some newcomers to the Maritimes.
About 6,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada to date, among them a family of seven who arrived in Fredericton just before Christmas. They fled Syria two years ago and have been living in a refugee camp in Lebanon.
Now they're sharing more about their decision to come to Canada, and what they think of their new home.
Speaking through translator Intesar Saeed, one of the first Syrian refugee families to arrive in New Brunswick says they're beginning to feel at home - although their smiles alone say it all.
When Hasan, Fayza and their five children arrived on Dec. 19, they were welcomed with open arms at the Fredericton airport by a crowd of people.
From then on, the family has been busy getting settled. They’ve seen doctors, caught up on vaccinations, and registered the children for school.
“In the beginning, he said, the only thing that make me happy is to go to school and learn and I’d like to play football and basketball,” said Saeed, translating for 10-year-old Mahammud.
The family is being privately sponsored by Faith Baptist Church in New Maryland, just outside of Fredericton.
“The Bible clearly teaches that as God’s people that we need to rescue - and the word is used in the Bible, rescue - those who are oppressed,” said pastor Larry Matthews.
“They are so co-operative and humble and kind and pleased to have our help,” said organizing committee member Jane Banks.
There are still memories of what the family has left behind in their war-torn country. But now, there is also a better vision of what the future could hold.
“I'd like to be a doctor for bones, to treat my father's leg,” said 10-year-old Mahmoud.
“I know the schools are getting prepared for them and I pray and hope that it’s a very positive experience for them,” said Banks.
Learning to speak English will be one of the top priorities for the family going forward as they begin a new life in Canada, and a new year.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore