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Syrian refugee family settling into Clarenville

Salah and Amina, with their children Ahmed and Madlyn.
Salah and Amina, with their children Ahmed and Madlyn. - Mark Squibb

CLARENVILLE, NL— It's been a long road from Aleppo, Syria, to Clarenville, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Salah Mohamed left war-torn Aleppo for Istanbul, Turkey, in 2014, in hopes of finding work and a more secure home for his family. He returned to Syria months later to marry his wife, Amina, and then returned to Tukey with his new bride.

In Aleppo, there were daily bombings, and bodies littered the streets. There was no work, and little food.

It was no place to raise a family.

But Turkey, with an influx of millions of other Syrian refugees, was no place to raise a family either.

"In Turkey, you don’t have life for child," said Mohamed, whose children Ahmed and Madlyn were born in Turkey.

"I need any place to go for my child. I cannot get what I need for my child in Turkey."

Now, with assistance of Our Lady Fatima Roman Catholic church in Clarenville and the federal government, Mohamed, his wife Amina, and his two children have made their home in Clarenville.

"We tried many times to come here. Now we get our chance. We can start a new life," said Mohamed.

Before arriving, the family knew that in Newfoundland the weather would be colder and that you lived much closer to the sea.

But they noticed another striking difference— the people.

"When we were in Turkey, you would not have somebody visit you and ask you if you need something. I see this here. Everybody's asking if I need anything, you need help. I don't see this in Turkey. You have to do everything by yourself. Here it is different. People are different."

"We see something different."

The family, who arrived only weeks ago, have before them the process of settling into life in Clarenville.

That includes things such as setting up a bank account — something unnecessary in a country such as Syria or Turkey where you can work for cash.

The family will take weekly English lessons to help improve their language abilities, and Salah hopes to find work at a local grocery store or coffee shop soon.

He currently has a sister living in Istanbul, who hopes to one day join her brother in Canada.

For now, the Mohamed family is doing it's best to adjust to a world where everything is different.

"We have a new life here," said Salah.


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