Sunday, 30 July 2017

A memorable meeting in Ethiopia

After the successful sponsorship of two Syrian families over the past year and a half, Ripple has been eagerly looking forward to our next sponsorship opportunities. Khaled’s situation was brought to our attention by our Syrian group member Ammar. Khaled had fled violence in Syria and is now living temporarily in Ethiopia. Ripple enthusiastically agreed to support his application to come to Canada.

In April, we received an update on Khaled’s application which read as follows:

Good Day,

Please be advised that this application is still in progress and is in queue for an Interview.

Unfortunately the interview dates have not been determined yet, once they are established the applicant will be notified accordingly.

Regards,

Immigration and Visa Section | Service Immigration-Visas
Canadian High Commission | Haut Commissariat du Canada
Government of Canada | Gouvernement du Canada

The following month I was in Ethiopia, as part of the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration in emergency medicine.

While there, I sent this simple text message:
“Hello Khaled, I’m part of your Canadian sponsorship group. I’m in Addis this week, it would be great to meet. Are you free on Tuesday for coffee? –   Jennifer” 


Within minutes, Khaled messaged me and we arranged to meet.
On the patio of my hotel we ordered Fanta and coffee and Khaled told me his story. He told me of the violence his family has experienced, showed me photos of war-decimated buildings where friends and family members once lived. He talked about struggling to support himself after leaving Syria, first fleeing to Sudan and then on to Ethiopia. 

With great difficulty, he’s found work in his area of expertise, travel and tourism, but his situation in Ethiopia is precarious. There’s no guarantee day to day of how long he will be able to continue to work and live there. Khaled's wife and daughter are still in Syria, eagerly awaiting the time when their family can be reunited

Khaled continues to await a date for his interview and the opportunity to finally move from a temporary existence to being able to build a new home in Canada.

We ended our visit with the shared hope that the next time we see each other will be in Pearson Airport as Khaled arrives in Toronto to start his new life.


By Dr. Jennifer Bryan

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