Syrian family builds new life in Surrey
Tuesday, September 29, 2015

    Samer Aldhmad worked hard as a merchant all his adult life to support his family. He does not, he explains in Arabic, his dark eyes flashing, want to depend on anyone else’s charity, least of all Canada’s. The only thing more difficult, he explains, would have been to watch his son die of cancer. Neither Aldhmad nor his wife, Hanan Al-Awad, wanted to come to this country initially. The Syrian couple and their five children would have been content to stay in Lebanon, a country that did not want them, because at least they could work, speak the language and have their families close by.

   All that changed when they suddenly had a five-year-old with lymphatic cancer and a nine-year-old who couldn’t write his own name because he had never been to school for any meaningful length of time. Today, two years later, the cancer is receding, the family has a safe, if crowded, place to live and the two oldest children are in school. On a recent summer evening, the oldest boys play outside in a courtyard drenched in golden sun as the two youngest children — one and three — munch on shawarmas almost as big as their heads. Four-year-old Nour, wearing a Hello Kitty T-shirt, impersonates a reporter, pretending to write on a notepad. It’s a happy scene, but getting here has not been easy.

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Source: Vancouver Sun