June 22, 1998
Our story this week is a special event, because we are launching two learners stories on the Internet, and you can read their stories as well as hear them, with the proper audio program as shown below.
Erika Salazar is a computer programmer from Chile. She has lived in Canada for almost two years and has learned both French and English since arriving. She came to Canada with her husband and two young children.
Play an audio version of this story
This country has many interesting and different things that have great value and importance. I really like this country. The weather is a little hard. But that is nothing. You have an equality system where everybody has the same opportunities. Here, you dont have many differences between the different economic classes - between rich and poor. You and your children have the opportunity to get the real and important things that you need - I mean to say, your children can live safely.
The work opportunities are there. If your children want to continue to study. They can become professionals, if they want. All they have to do is work hard and be good students.
Health care is there for everybody, not only for rich people. If you have an emergency, the police, firemen, and an ambulance will be there to help you. It doesnt matter what your colour or language is. It doesnt matter what your job, political position or religion is. Here you dont have discrimination.
The police in this country really help and they do take care of us. The relationship between the police and the people is a relationship of one equal person to another. In our country, the police and the military are different. They have the power - the people do not - and the relationship between the police and the people is one where the person has no importance - none at all.......
But most important -- here in this country theres a real peace. You do not have to pay for it. It is a right you are born with. It is not a gift someone gives to you. Or something you pay taxes for. But it is a gift -- or maybe I should say, a treasure. I would prefer to lose all of my possessions in my country to have a peaceful place to live in. This is a great treasure that you have here.
Each person has different needs in life to feel safe, secure and happy. Some of these needs are not too difficult to meet -- if you work hard, try to live your life as God says it should be lived. It is very important to work hard, to have a lot of faith, and to live correctly. This, I know, I can do.
But now, at this time in my life, there is a need which is going to be very hard to meet. I am a refugee from a Latin-American country. I am only one of many of these people who come to Canada because our countries are dangerous places for us and for our children. My husband and I made the decision to leave our country, not because we do not love our country and our family back there, and do not miss our friends and way of life there. It is very hard to leave all of that behind -- it is heart-breaking. And the mourning will go on for the rest of our lives.
We left and came to Canada because there was no choice. We want safety for our children. We want to have hope that there is peace for in the future for us. If we returned to our country, we would live in fear for the rest of our lives.
We, and our children, have learned both French and English, and our children have become part of the community - they talk like Canadian children and feel they are one of the kids in the neighbourhood. We have worked very hard for them to stay here -- in this safe place. We pray to God we can stay. We pray for the acceptance of the people of this community. We pray that people will understand our situation and do anything they can to convince the Canadian immigration department to accept us.
We need your support, your help, and your prayers. To achieve the goal or need which is our safety and peace, we cannot do it by ourselves --- we must have the help of the Canadian people.