Wel­come home

Refugee mother, four chil­dren make new home in An­napo­lis Royal thanks to ARCARE

Annapolis Valley Register - - FRONT PAGE - BY LAWRENCE POW­ELL THE SPEC­TA­TOR AN­NAPO­LIS ROYAL, N.S.

It’s hot in Ghana, so when Anna Amegah saw the re­cent snow in An­napo­lis Royal, she was in awe.

“I was amazed. The first day I went out there and I was like ‘Wow!’ I call it amaz­ing be­cause we don’t have snow fall­ing in Africa,” she said from her new home on the town’s water­front. “I’ve been blessed to be in a place where snow is fall­ing. Very happy.”

And she likes her new home tucked be­tween a mu­seum and a bed-and-break­fast in Canada’s old­est town. It’s been a long time com­ing for the mother of four, who fled Liberia years ago to live as a refugee in nearby Ghana.

She will never go back to Liberia where civil wars killed as many as 250,000 peo­ple un­til a peace agree­ment in 2003 led to demo­cratic elec­tions in 2005. The coun­try was known for its child sol­diers and the dis­place­ment of as many as one mil­lion peo­ple. She was one of them.

Asked how long she’d been wait­ing to come to Canada, she said too long.

“I waited. It was about two years af­ter my in­ter­view with the UNHCR (United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner on Refugees),” she said. “I was suc­cess­ful. The Cana­dian gov­ern­ment ac­cepted my re­quest. It elated me but I kept wait­ing. It was two years.”

When she found out re­cently she would be go­ing to Canada, she cried.

New home in Canada Ash­ley Sprague sat with Anna and her kids on a re­cent snowy morn­ing. It was white and windy out­side. School was can­celled again, much to the dis­may of 12-year-old Wendy and six-yearold Kelvin, who were ea­ger to start classes and meet new friends. They had toured the school but snow had kept the doors closed ever since.

Three-year-old Phile­mon was all smiles try­ing out the re­porter’s cam­era, and 10-month-old Elsa was sleep­ing in a crib nearby.

“A lot hap­pened in be­tween,” Sprague said in ref­er­ence to Anna’s UNHCR in­ter­view and her ar­rival in Canada.

The group Sprague be­longs to, An­napo­lis Royal Com­mu­nity As­sist­ing Re­lo­ca­tion, spon­sored the Hag­gar fam­ily from Su­dan twoand-a-half years ago – a mom with six kids.

LAWRENCE POW­ELL

Three-year-old Phile­mon is a bun­dle of en­ergy and smiles since ar­riv­ing at his new home in An­napo­lis Royal. Two weeks ago he was liv­ing in Ghana with his mother Anna Amegah and his three sib­lings.

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