I recently had the pleasure of meeting the Nahhas family, a family of five who fled the war in Syria and were sponsored over five years ago as refugees to Canada by the Presbytery of Seaway Glengarry. I spent a lovely afternoon chatting with sisters Hiba and Tamy, Tamy’s son Joud, 12, and Hiba and Tamy’s mother, Dalal. Dalal, now retired from over 30 years of teaching in Syria, is very grateful to be here in Canada with her husband Walid and their family.
Hiba was a pharmacist in Syria, and just recently received her license to practice as a pharmacist in Canada. She now works in Merrickville, while her sister, Tamy, works for Ardron Landscaping in North Dundas. Both enjoy their work, and Tamy’s son Joud attends school at St. Michael’s. He loves the freedom he has here to be able to skateboard with his friends in safety. He has also learned to skate and is playing hockey, like most other Canadian kids!
February 17, 2022, was a special reunion for the family, especially for Hiba, when her fiancé, Fadi Hanna Karyo, finally came to Canada after a four-year wait. Like Hiba and her family, Fadi was also sponsored as a Syrian refugee by the Presbytery of Seaway-Glengarry. Fadi’s flight arrived during a blinding snowstorm, but nevertheless he is very thankful to be in Canada.
I met Fadi and the Nahhas family at the Nestle Down B&B on Highway 43, where Fadi is staying at the moment until he can find lodgings in Kemptville. His hosts, Ellen and Allison Miller, love having him there and treat him like he is one of the family.
While Fadi was in Lebanon, he supported himself by finding work wherever he could until his sponsorship finally came through. For the past four years he has lived a nomadic type of lifestyle, so he is so grateful to have come to Canada into a safe and secure environment. His fiancée’s family have settled in Kemptville, and he is very excited for the opportunity to also put down roots in the community. He is very grateful to his church sponsors and to his fiancée, Hiba, for their efforts to bring him to Canada.
It was an enjoyable afternoon with the family, with Dalal promising to make me a homemade Syrian meal. Of course, Fadi also offered to make me pizza, boasting that he makes one of the best. Right now, he is searching for work in Kemptville in the restaurant industry.
It is heartwarming to see how well this family has adapted to a new country, and to see them move forward from everything they left behind. What a beautiful family, and I will eagerly await that promised meal – both Syrian food and pizza!