Family hosting meet and greet on Nov. 17
The Esmaeel family invites you to a meet & greet on Nov. 17
Madyan Esmaeel thought daily about fleeing Syria with wife Rasha and their three young children.
He loved being a pharmacist at the government clinic where he worked in the mornings, followed by his afternoon shift at the private pharmacy. He loved Syria, the country he moved to from Kuwait at the age of five. And, he loved his newly built house.
The family held on until late March 2013 when battle sounds of civil war crept closer.
On April 3, 2013, the Esmaeels gathered some clothing and a few personal items and made the dangerous two-hour journey from their home in Daraa in southwest Syria to neighbouring Jordan.
Madyan remembers a warm welcome from the Jordanian soldiers as they crossed the border.
“We moved to a refugee camp where we lived for a short time,” he said on Oct. 14, surrounded by his family at their home in Baddeck. “Then we moved to Irbid [in northern Jordan] where we lived for 5 years. We lived in safety in Jordan but every day we hoped the war would end in my country so we can go back, but unfortunately things were getting worse every day.”
Daughter Marah (now 14 years old), and son Mohammad, 13, remember Syria. Daughter Mais, 9, was unaware of the war. Youngest son, Taim, 4, was born in Jordan.
The next leg of their journey began two and one-half years ago when the opportunity to move to Canada presented itself.
“I did not dream of traveling to Canada all my life. I read about it only on the Internet. When I was offered travel to Canada, I was hesitant at first because I [knew] that emigrating to Canada mean[t] moving farther and farther from home.”
The more Madyan learned about Canada, its government, its people, the better he felt. Rasha’s brother and sister-in-law, already living in Halifax, offered reassurances. Not long after, a match was struck between the Esmaeels and the Syria-to-baddeck sponsorship group and thus a lengthy process began. The wait was long on both sides. The Esmaeels completed forms, interviews and biometric testing while the Syria-to-baddeck Committee built a welcoming nest for the family to land in.
On April 26, 2018, the Esmaeels flew from Amman, Jordan to Frankfurt, Germany. Then, on to Toronto, and finally Sydney, Nova Scotia.
“I could not believe we were crossing the Atlantic Ocean, which separates East from West. When we got to Baddeck, we were very surprised when we found words welcoming us in Arabic on many houses and government centres. So we felt that we had come to the right place and we did not make the wrong decision to immigrate to Canada.”
Madyan now works at Stone’s Pharmasave, Rasha works in the home. The children are busy with school and sports, and just recently, trick-or-treating.
“I would like to thank the Committee and the sponsors responsible for us who gave us material and moral support. I would also like to thank our neighbours, who were very kind to us and all the staff at the Nova Scotia office, the bank, the library, the hospital, the post office, the language teachers and the nurses responsible for my family, and all the staff of drug store.”
While they ponder next steps, the Esmaeels wish to invite their new community for a meet-andgreet on Nov. 17, 2-4pm, at the Baddeck Community Hall.
The Esmaeel family poses in their home in Baddeck. Pictured on couch (L-R): Mohammad, Madyan, Rasha and Marah. In front (L-R) are Taim and Mais.