As a thank you to the community that took them in, the Casim family of Pictou held a celebration for residents of the town at Pictou United Church. The basement of the church was full of friends and neighbours all enjoying the evening and the food that Lema Casim prepared especially for the occasion.
“They’ve been cooking for two days to make all of the food,” said Donna Collins of CAiRN, the group that brought the family to the county a year ago. Before anyone tucked into the food Abdulkadir, Casim family patriarch, stood at the podium for a moment to say a few words to the community that he met just a year ago.
Casim told the crowd gathered his family is settled into their new home and spoke about the progress they have made.
“Omer went to school and he is doing very well,” said Casim. “Lema and I achieved so much learning English and Lema is now at the New Glasgow Farmers Market selling food and I currently work at The Advocate and plan to open my own restaurant this summer,” he said. “We feel like we were born here.”
Casim also noted the kindness of the community and CAiRN in helping them get on their feet.
Ahmet Nassrat, a Pictou resident who has been helping with translation in the last year, spoke as well.
“He didn’t know a word of English a year ago and now he’s up here for two, three minutes making a short speech,” Nassrat said. “It’s not easy, as most of you are aware, to leave your home,” he said. Nassrat also talked about how he had become involved in CAiRN to help out with translating and how, through that, the group had also helped him become more acquainted with the community and many of the people in it.
“It’s good always in the climate we have now to celebrate our new Syrian and Muslim neighbours,” said Collins. “I consider them a success story.”
Ahmet Nassrat stands with Abdulkadir Casim at the microphone while Casim thanks the community for helping his family. (Brimicombe photo)