Members and friends of Summerlea United, Merging Waters Pastoral Charge, and Lakeshore Unitarian Universalist Congregation worked for over two years with our co-sponsor, Salman, to bring his brother Bilal and family to Canada as sponsored Syrian refugees. They arrived in Montreal on February 12th and were greeted with hugs, laughter and tears by brothers Salman and Saad and representatives of the 3 sponsoring congregations.
The family is now settled into their new community in Ville St Laurent. We are fortunate to have Salman as a co-sponsor as Salman has been in Canada for 5 years, works with an immigration lawyer and is taking courses to become an immigration consultant. He knows the system and has found an apartment for Bilal in the same building, so the two families are close together and Salman and his wife are providing valuable support. Younger brother Saad, who lives with his family in the next building. They are extremely hospitable and several members of our committee have enjoyed delicious food and had fun watching the 10 cousins play exuberantly together. Bilal's children are now enrolled in classes d'accueil in the same school as Salman's children and they ride together on the school bus. Salman's children are well on their way learning French and will be able to help their cousins. Bilal is an experienced car mechanic and is enrolled in English classes so that he will be able to start working. They have experienced shopping at COSTCO. One of our committee members went with them. They were given a $500.00 gift certificate for Pharmaprix.
I am sure they will enjoy the warmer weather and as Bilal said through Salman:
"I am feeling very good; I feel I am in my home."