We wanted to find a better future for the family, especially my son. But the decision about moving to another country took time and planning. It is difficult. No one can say it is easy being here.
Every morning during the school year Daysi Carolina Peraza bundles up her two boys. She walks with 11-year-old Joel to his school and then boards the bus with two-year-old Natan. Two buses and one hour later she arrives at Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, drops Natan off at child care and heads for English class. While she could study closer to her Lower Sackville home, the journey is worth the effort. “I am happy to study at Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia,” she says. “It’s important to feel comfortable with your teacher and I have fun learning here.”
Language is the major barrier Daysi faces and chooses to tell her story through an interpreter. She came here from her native El Salvador in October 2009 with her husband Carlos and their older son. “We wanted to find a better future for the family, especially my son. But the decision about moving to another country took time and planning. It is difficult. No one can say it is easy being here.”
Daysi is a trained physiotherapist and worked in private practice visiting clients in their homes. She hopes to work in Canada as a physio, or at least an assistant. Daysi also was a respiratory therapist in a children’s hospital emergency room, a skill she learned on the job. “I loved it. It was very interesting to see how children fight to live.”
Daysi and Carlos came to Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia to learn English and he also received Employment Counselling services. He was an electronic engineer in El Salvador and has enrolled in Electrical Engineering Technology at the Nova Scotia Community College so that he can find work here.
Daysi became pregnant soon after arriving in Canada, a surprise she refers to as a “gift from God.” Now as well as studying English, she stays home to care for her boys. She says she wishes people were more patient with her English. “If you ask them to speak slowly, some are happy to, but some just won’t.” Homesickness is an issue as her sister and mother are still in El Salvador although her brother moved to Canada 20 years ago and is in the Canadian Navy.
Daysi is committed to making a life here. The family goes to church – a good place to meet people. She is always surprised when strangers in the street say hello. “In my country I would wonder what they want!” She admits she hates the weather and has not adapted to the cold. “It is easy to feel depressed about things, but we have to confront and overcome any problems. And if you work hard, the country will give you opportunities that you can take.”
Daysi was a university student during El Salvador’s brutal war and is thankful to Canada for having welcomed Salvadorans during those horrific times. Memories of those difficult days remind her how wise it is for her sons’ future that they live in Canada.