Edmonton

Edmonton has given Syrian family a chance at 'everything'

Mansour Mansour once had a pleasant life in Syria. He had a nice home in a peaceful village near the border with Jordan, and owned a thriving supermarket. Then, the civil war arrived at his doorstep, and everything changed.

His father and uncle murdered by ISIS, refugee finds peace and happiness in Canada

“Here, I find everything,” says Monsour Monsour, searching for the English words to describe everyday things most Canadians take for granted. (CBC)

Mansour Mansour once had a pleasant life in Syria.

He had a nice home in a peaceful village near the border with Jordan, and owned a thriving supermarket.

Then, the civil war arrived at his doorstep, and everything changed.

His father and uncle were murdered by ISIS thugs.

His home and business were looted.

He and his family fled with whatever they could carry.

First, they went to Damascus in 2013. Then, to a camp in Lebanon.

Finally, with the help of sponsors, they came to Canada as refugees.

And everything changed again. This time, for the better.

"The children are happy to go to school," Mansour said of his new life in Edmonton. "But there, they were afraid. They were scared from the bombs."

You can't get corn flakes in Syria.

That's just one tiny example, he said, of how life has changed for his family, five people among countless thousands who have run for their lives from violence and bloodshed, looking for peace and happiness in a new world.

"Here, I find everything," Mansour said, searching for the English words to describe everyday things most Canadians take for granted.

"We have house, we have car, I'm working," he said. "It's very good."

The Mansour family was sponsored by St Theresa's Parish.

"They're a success story," said Father Jim Corrigan. "They're learning English. They're learning French. Probably better than I. Mansour and his wife both found employment. It's a beautiful thing."

Planeloads of Syrian refugees will begin arriving in Canada this week.

Thousands are expected within the next four months.   

St. Theresa's has sponsored three more families and expects one of them to arrive on Thursday.

Mansour knows what the newcomers can expect. He said he and his family have been welcomed by Edmontonians with open arms.

"I'm free," he said, investing the word with an importance only a newcomer might fully understand. "I'm speaking about anything. Democratic country, for any religion. Christian, Muslim, Buddha. You can do it.

"When I see my children learning, and happy," he pauses to think, "I can give them anything."

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