Patience needed to overcome challenges


Rafe Arnott/Metro Vancouver


Yahya Eslam moved from Iraq last year and said he is eager to find work in his field of study.


Almost 20 per cent of Canadians are immigrants, according to 2006 census results released yesterday, and time is essential to their experience.

It was a rough beginning for Marian Go, 44, when she emigrated from the Philippines to Richmond with her husband and four daughters in 2003. Adding to her challenges, is the homesickness that still lingers on.

She spoke English, thanks to a private school education, but wasn’t familiar with the Canadian system.

About four weeks after her arrival, Go’s three-year-old daughter fell sick with a stomach virus and was rushed to an emergency room. After waiting longer than two hours, Go was told to take the girl to a children’s hospital instead.

"I was so scared. I didn’t know what to do. We waited and waited but no one was attending us," said Go.

The people, the food, the atmosphere, the weather, they’re all different, Go said, but with time she’s learned to make Richmond home.

Yahya Eslam, 36, moved to Vancouver from Iraq in July 2006. He is struggling now, but believes that with time, the immigrant experience will end well.

Eslam hasn’t found work in his area of study yet, despite his bachelor’s degree and several years of experience as a civil engineer in the gas and oil field.

He also wants to propose to his girlfriend, but doesn’t want to do it until he is financially secure.

His savings are rapidly dwindling, he said, and if he doesn’t find a job soon he will have to settle for a position outside his field. He is taking an advanced course at the University of B.C. to prove his level of expertise, he said, but was denied welfare because he is a student.

"I am frustrated but I have hope. I hope this will be my lucky day," he said.