Eaman Almasri, Canada
The loss of your foundations is one of the most difficult experiences in the world. Losing everything familiar to you really is a sort of death. Leaving behind your mementos, achievements, friends, a home, the very land which carries all your hopes and dreams – it can cause one to lose all hope.
In my original homeland of Syria, this is exactly the horror we had to face. At first, we decided to try and tolerate the trials. We would simply endure the ever-growing tensions out of love for our precious homeland. But before we knew it, events had escalated at break-neck speed. Soon enough, our home was quite literally burnt to the ground. My father was forced from his job, and we faced escalating threats on the daily. Even still, we remained resilient and determined to tough out the hard times and continue clinging to the fading hope of remaining in Syria.
That is until a devastating turn of events unfolded. My eldest brother’s school was bombed, and he lost two of his friends. Soon, we were forced to come to terms with the gripping reality that stared us cold in the face: every moment we remained, our lives quite literally hung in the balance, suspended between certain death and the heart-stopping prospect of it. So, we packed our belongings, along with the memories and the love we held for our homeland and left. I remember missing it before we were even gone. I hoped that whatever was waiting for us in the future, that one day the happiness we felt in our yesterday would return to us in our tomorrow. It´s a strange thing when your tomorrow is no longer a mysterious time, but an unknown place.
We managed to migrate to Turkey, but life there was extremely challenging. We felt the striking contrast every day against how we had once lived in Syria. Soon, we grew ill due to a lack of food and nourishment. My parents, in an effort to at least keep us warm, would trek into the forest and cut firewood for our house.
While in Turkey, we applied for Canadian immigration. A while later, the holy month of Ramadan arrived. We had witnessed the blessings of this month many times before, so we threw ourselves into earnest prayers and supplications, begging for Allah’s mercy. I remember it being the 28th day of the holy month, and still, we had heard no news at all. I decided to devote the entire night to praying, begging Allah for his mercy. That very night, my heart filled to the brim with the feelings of Allah’s blessings and an incredible comfort filled my person against the long days of worry and anticipation that had preceded it.
That night, I saw a vision of my family on a train travelling to an unspecified destination. In it, I looked into my father´s eyes and asked him, ‘when will we arrive?’
He replied, ‘We are almost there – have patience.’ Soon, the train came to a stop and the doors opened wide as if they were large gates. My family and I stepped off the train and were greeted by a peaceful luscious green land filled with the most vibrant flowers, and my vision ended.
The very next day, we received news that our application had been approved.
I arrived in Canada along with six of my family members in 2015. Through Allah’s great mercy and His ceaseless blessings, I am able to write this sitting safely in a country that has provided us with peace, safety and abundant opportunities. All praise belongs to Allah.