New Canadians are settling into their Orangeville home

January 6, 2016   ·   0 Comments

By Marni Walsh

New Canadians Emad and Razan Al Haj Ali and their two children, eight-year-old Fatema and seven-year-old Hamoudi, are settling into their new home in Orangeville arranged for by their sponsors.

The first of several refugees from Syria expected to settle locally, the family arrived safely in Orangeville after a 30-hour journey from Jordan on December 14.

“They are so happy to be in their new house and each day we notice more signs of nesting,” reports the Headwaters Refugee Sponsorship Committee, that worked for months to bring the family out of Jordan.

It is a busy schedule for the family as they build their new life as Canadians. There is a long list of systems that the family needs to become familiar with in order to function day to day. They opened a personal bank account, learned how to use a debit card, visited the doctor, connected to the internet, and on and on while at the same time learning to speak English.

The Logels say the family has continued their “smooth adjustment to life in Canada, and their English skills are progressing steadily due their diligent practice.  It is truly amazing how much their English has improved.”

The children are quickly learning about the different Canadian coins, they acquired library cards and borrowed books and DVD’s to improve their English and this week Emad and Razan will go to Erin for their ESL (English as a second language) assessment.

Westminster United Church hosted a Pantry Shower for the family to help provide all the basics for the Al Haj Alis’ kitchen and pantry.  Sponsors say the townhouse is set up with only a few things to add and a few renovations to the basement to make a play area for the children. Emad, who is trained in construction, received a tool box with many tools at the shower, having expressed an interest in doing the renovations himself.

“Many people have dropped around with additional household items and the family appears to be happy to see all visitors and greets them enthusiastically,”  said Brian Logel, with whom they lived initially.

The family has been able to connect with other Canadian Syrians in Hockley Valley and Brampton and enjoy visiting and receiving visitors in their new home. Christmas Day was spent sharing a Halal turkey with the Logels.

This Monday, January 4, was a milestone day as the children started school and by all reports “had a great day” with “a wonderful, caring teacher.”

It was also their birthday, both children having been born January 4th, and Mom learned to bake a Canadian birthday cake to celebrate their special day.

The Logels report they have not heard anymore about the status of Emad’s brother, also scheduled to come to Canada. He is the last on Emad’s side to leave Jordan. This Friday, January 8th, they will attend a meeting to discuss Dufferin County’s plan for the Syrian re-settlement.

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