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My New Life in Canada

I came from Srilanka. I came to Canada in August 1993. I chose Canada because my country has a civil war and Canada is a safe place to live. A lot of our people live here and it is easy to get political asylum.

Our country has a civil war now. This civil war started in 1980. There are bomber attacks, helicopter attacks, shell attacks and shooting by the Srilankan Army in the north and east part of Srilanka. A lot of my friends, neighbours and relatives have been killed by the Srilankan Army. My house ws near the army camp in Palati.

I went to Norway to study in 1986. After I came back to Jaffra, a city in the north in 1993, the Srilankan army captured my place in Maviddapuram. The Srilankan army staye in my house and my neighbour's house. Five hundred thousand people moved to the jungle. There was no electricity, medicine, transportation or enough food in Jaffra. Now there is no safe place in Srilanka. It is very difficult to live there. So we had to come here.

Because Canada is the safest place in the world, I came here in 1993. Canada's weather is very cold and our country's weather is very warm, so Canada's weather is difficult for me. But now I can manage. However it is difficult to get a job.

When I arrived in Canada with my wife and children, I didn't know a lot of our people lived here, but I discovered that a lot of friends and relatives are also here. Our people have restaurants, electronic repair shops, one-hour photo studios, cinemas, jeweller's shops, textiles, saloons, flower shops and a lot of other shops here. I didn't know before that a lot of our people had shops here. When I arrived in Canada my brother-in-law met me and I stayed with them for two weeks. After that, I got another apartment.

I hope that I can learn to speak English fluently. I would like to communicate with Canadian people. Now I am studying Level 6 English in Berner Trail school. This level will finish at the end of June. Then I will study some other courses. After that, I will try to get a job and make my life in Canada.

V.S.K., Scarborough
June 1996

From The Scarboro Heights Record V5  #1

I was a farmer in Sri-Lanka and I came to Canada with my family on November 6th, 1993. We left our native country due to ethnic problems. We chose Canada because it is a multicultural country having a democratic form of government. We were told that there are opportunities for jobs in Canada for people having a knowledge of the English language.

When I came to Canada I had to undergo a lot of problems. First, it was difficult to speak English. Also, I was nervous and excited about living in the cold weather. I had never been used to such cold weather or snow in our country. Next, I was undergoing a lot of difficulties communicating with other multicultural people. I couldn't understand their pronunciations.

After being here for a short time, I discovered that I had to have a quadruple by-pass. We don't have any good medical facilities for heart surgery in Sri-Lanka. If I had been in Sri-Lanka, I would have gone to Heaven. Because I was in Toronto, I was operated on by one of the famous heart surgeons in Canada. The health care system in Canada is known as the best in the world. In general, the doctors, nurses, and the staff are generous and kind-hearted people. I will always be very grateful to this country for my recovery.

If the ethnic war hadn't started in Sri-Lanka, we wouldn't have been here now. Now I am studying English in ESL class in level 6. I hope now I have been improving my knowledge of English a little bit. If I get a good job, we can manage to live here. I hope my future may flourish and be enjoyable.

A.S., Scarborough
June, 1996

From The Scarboro Heights Record V5  #1