Mohammad is someone with a clear idea of who he is, where he’s been, what he still wants to achieve, and most importantly, what matters most in life. At GGP, we work with people often still in the process of figuring these things out. It is important to recognize that there are mentors, leaders, and teachers like Mohammad with an incredible depth of wisdom and knowledge to share.
When Mohammad came to Saskatoon five months ago, it was not his first visit to Canada. He first came here in 1974 as a student—studying English in Montreal, of all places. He worked on a Master’s degree in Nuclear Physics at the University of Calgary before transferring to the University of Saskatchewan to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. During this time, he married and celebrated the birth of his first son.
Mohammad returned to his home country of Iran in 1979, where he lived and worked for the next thirty-three years. He held several managerial and board positions and also started his own successful trade company. He said that although he had a good life in Iran, he hopes to build a better life here, especially for his children.
Mohammad said he loves Canada and he loves Saskatoon. He appreciates everything that he has gained from participating in GGP’s programs. He has attended many programs and classes: Coffee and Conversation; Family, Fun, and Fit; Drop-In Information sessions; Driving Theory; Computer classes; First Aid & CPR; and, of course, English classes. Eventually, he would like to start a business here, but first, he wants to learn everything he can about Canadian culture and the way things are done here. Global Gathering Place has given him many opportunities to develop this understanding.
“Canadian people,” he said, “are good.” He said they are hospitable and kind and can enjoy life in a country with very little racism. His experience is that success here depends on the individual—on the time, work, and effort he or she is willing to invest. He said that there are equal opportunities and plenty of resources, and it’s up to you to decide what you want to do.
Mohammad wants to work. He’s been job hunting for a few months now, and when he started out, he lacked the skills, knowledge, and confidence in his English ability that he needed to land a suitable position. The programs he’s attended have helped enormously, and finally, last week, he was given his chance. He was selected for a position and will soon be travelling to Calgary to complete training. It’s very important to him that he not sit at home while life passes by. He wants to be an active and contributing member of society. “It’s not about the money,” he explained, “I want to be useful to society. I want to help, not to get help.”
He wishes, though, that this process were easier and expresses regret at how many high-level specialists are forced into taking entry-level and survival jobs. It’s disappointing to see physicians, scientists, and engineers working a checkout lane. If only Canadians were able to recognize how much profit there is to be gained from tapping into skills that newcomers bring. “Canada must use us. We have so much experience and so much to offer.”
In the meantime, Mohammad looks forward to beginning his new job and waits for the day that his family is reunited. His wife returned to Tehran after only two and a half months in Saskatoon. She went back to be with their daughter while she completes her thesis. They’re both due back in Canada in December and the months until then can’t slip by quickly enough. In thirty-eight years of marriage, this is the first time and the longest time that Mohammad’s been alone.
Good luck, Mohammad. Canada is fortunate to have you.