Hello or Marhaban, as we say in Arabic! My name is Amira* and I’m 12 years old. I have 4 younger brothers and sisters. My family used to live in Syria, until the war broke out in our country. There were bombings close to our house and it was scary. There was a curfew set for everyone at 6 p.m. I know some kids have curfews (which is a time their parents set for when they have to be home after being out with friends), but during war-time, a curfew is to keep everyone safe. After dark, it becomes too dangerous for people to go out. We couldn’t even go to school anymore because the building was destroyed. My siblings and I were very afraid.
My parents made the difficult decision to leave Syria, and all that we had and knew, behind. We made it to Lebanon and managed to find a small basement apartment that was very crowded, and very, very cold in the wintertime. My dad tried to find work when he could, but it was not easy. Never in our lives did we think we would become refugees.
We lived day to day, just struggling to get by. It was not something my parents wanted for us. I miss my home, my friends and relatives. We had been living this way in Lebanon for two years when we heard about Canada. We were so hopeful to move there, but it still took another year and a half before we got the plane tickets to come here. But once we did, things moved very quickly.
We arrived in our new Canadian home on New Year’s Day. At the airport, we were all surprised to see a large group of people from Timberlea Baptist Church waiting to welcome us. These people were all strangers to us, they didn’t know us at all, but they have been very kind and generous! We were so unhappy for so long and often times we felt like second class citizens, but here, we feel like human-beings again and are treated well. It is nice to be able to go to bed at night and not be terrified of what might happen.
All my siblings who are old enough, go to school now. I’m so happy to be learning again, especially my new favourite subject – English! On weekends I help my parents with chores, like doing the dishes and laundry. I like playing basketball and the piano; someday I hope to be piano teacher. My favourite colours are pink and yellow because they are bright, and yellow reminds me of the warm sun. I like everything about Canada, especially the trees and the chance for my family to be healthy, safe and happy again.
*Name has been changed to protect family’s privacy.