On a cold blustery day, October 24, the last two members of the refugee family, sponsored by our Ottawa community arrived at the Ottawa airport. We had brought coats with us to protect them against the cold of the approaching winter. Nada Sabha and her daughter Riwa arrived around one o’clock in the afternoon from Toronto. The previous day they had flown from Beirut via Cairo to Toronto. Andre, their son, had arrived in September and lived in our community for three weeks. With him we found an apartment and he helped in the moving of the furniture from the SCJ Chalet on the Ottawa river in Pointe-au-Chene to the apartment near Resurrection parish.
The greeting at the airport was emotional. Nada had not seen her brother Ziad, who had immigrated eleven years earlier since the beginning of the civil war of Syria. Ziad had approached Catholic Immigration Center of Ottawa to help to find sponsors for his sister. Nada, Riwa and Andre (who had arrived in Ottawa a month earlier) had fled from Damascus, Syria, to Lebanon in February when they were assured that they had Canadian sponsors.
Andre has already enrolled in language courses. He is already at level six out of eight and would like to continue his university studies in software engineering. He has checked out the requirements for the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa. He has completed two years in Damascus. Riwa has worked at a bank and also has knowledge of English. On October 27 some members of the Sunday worship community at 192 Daly Ave will take Nada and Riwa to obtain their health card and SIM documentation, and their bus passes. Later next week they will have a language assessment. Nada does not know any English, so she has to start from scratch.
On November 6, the Sunday worship community will hold a potluck lunch to welcome the family and to wish them well.