Originally from Iraq, Mustafa and his family fled to Syria where they lived for five years before coming to Canada as Government Assisted Refugees in 2011. The move has been a good one for them; Mustafa speaks glowingly of Canada, referring to the safety he has found and the fact that all people enjoy the same human rights as a gift.
In Syria, he says, he always felt different. The systems and processes there ensured that he never forgot that difference. There was no option to become a citizen, and every three months he had to renew his visa, a costly requirement. The United Nations helped his family a lot, coordinating visa renewals and the application to move to Canada. It was a difficult and stressful period in all their lives. He spoke of having too much free time and nothing to fill his days even though he was working there. In Canada, by contrast, he’s busy. Always busy.
He’s tried his hand working several jobs here, sometimes simultaneously (sleep is for the weak), attends English classes at SIAST, is launching his own cleaning business, and still finds time to participate in programs at Global Gathering Place. Family, Fun, and Fit, Information Sessions, Driving Theory, Swimming Classes, he shows an enormous amount of initiative in learning as much as he possibly can as quickly as he can about his new country.
Before coming to Canada, he hoped that life would be easier. He hoped to be able to complete his education and to build a future for himself that didn’t require working hard manual labour jobs. There is the possibility for all of that here, but it is not an easy road. Education is so very expensive in Canada, and before he can consider post-secondary education, he needs first to obtain his GED. In order to be able to afford school, he needs to earn more money. In order to earn more money, he needs a better job. In order to get a better job, he needs more education. It’s a vicious circle, but with perseverance and tenacity, all is possible and Mustafa is determined. As a mark of this determination, Mustafa has actually started up his own company, Qmarion Cleaning. He hopes to build this fledgling venture into a family business that can help and employ his family members as well.
Mustafa is integrating very well and very quickly into life in Canada. He mentioned that one adjustment has been getting used to our system of law. He came from places with widespread corruption, where people could simply pay their way out of difficulties. It was satisfying to find out that Canada has strong laws, and the consequences for breaking the law are clear and applied equally, regardless of a person’s wealth.
The biggest change, he says, has been adjusting to the weather. He experienced his first taste of snow and his first feel of sub-zero temperatures here and summer can’t arrive too soon! Brrr! Even so, he says he loves it here, and looks forward to the day he’ll carry a Canadian passport.