Some people are Canadians because they were born here, and some are Canadians by choice. For some it has been a difficult journey to come to Canada, for some the promise of a better life is being fulfilled. To mark Canada Day, we spoke to a couple of families in the area who were born elsewhere and who chose Canada as their home. This is the Santos Family's story
The Santos family—Victor and Lesi and their two sons Victor Jr. and Edward—chose to make Canada their home. They came to Canada as refugees from Honduras originally, they are now Permanent Residents of Canada, and they hope to become Canadian Citizens.
In Canada for nine years
“We came here nine years ago, in 2011,” says Lesi. “This is one of the best countries in the world. We always wanted to have a better life. We are lucky to be living here compared to living in other countryies, like back home in Central America.
“There is beautiful weather there and some wonderful people, but it’s too hard to live there. It’s to difficult. Canada is a much better country to live in.”
How does she compare life in Canada to the life the family would have had in Honduras?
“Here in Canada, the kids have better education, and we have jobs, and things are getting better every day. We’re able to get ahead. We own our own house, the kids are so happy and can go out and play with friends, my son has been working since he turned 14 years old, which he would not be able to do in Honduras. Here the kids can work and can be independent. In Honduras you can’t do that. He is happy.
“He is saving money for his future, so he can buy a vehicle and go to university. Back home we would never be able to do that.
“I remember I started working after I graduated at 18 or 19 years old, there was no way you could to to university. There was no opportunity for us. He’s lucky here. He can have two or three jobs and tells me, “Mom we are happy, we are busy working.”
She says living in Moosomin is like a different world than Honduras when it comes to safety and security.
“It’s a big difference, we can live here and open the doors and nobody can go in to your house, nobody does anything bad to you, we can walk in the streets and we can go where ever and enjoy the weather outside, you can go camping or to the restaurant, we can do whatever we want because you feel safe and free.
“There you can not do that, especially in the cities in Central America and Mexico. It’s terrible, the kids there they have to pay attention to be safe because of the narcotrafficking, and it’s sad but the politicians and the police are involved. Its hard to say that, but it’s real. Sometimes my husband watches the news from there. I don’t like to watch the news because its too sad. My family lives there. They said they have to be careful to go out.
She said the kids’ futures look very different in Canada
“Its hard, if you don’t have good work there or a good income, you are not able to go to university or to have a good education. They have some private schools and its a lot of money you have to spend for the kids to go. Public education is not good enough to get a career or go to university.
“Here in Canada it’s totally different. For example from elementary and secondary school they can go to school and we don’t have to worry about paying anything for their education.
“My son can work and save for university or we can help them. He can take whatever he wants. He wants to get his pilot’s licence. He is in air cadets here and they help with getting his first licence, and after he graduates he can take that and go to college. His goal is to become a pilot.
“My youngest Edward he’s only eight years old, he doesn’t know exactly what he wants, he only wants to play right now. Our oldest son is always thinking about his future, I like how he’s growing. He is always busy and very mature.”
Being Canadian means a lot
“Gettting our permanent residency, knowing we could stay in Canada was a big step. We were worried before we got our permanent residency but that changed everything. Once we got the news, our life changed. We have a new life and new plans, we feel safe and happy and hopefully in two more years we can get our citizenship”
She said she looks forward to that day.
“We are proud to be Canadian and we’re proud to be in Moosomin.
“The community has been so helpful. Everyone knows our story because of the Spectator and everyone is always asking about our immigration process and how we are doing, everybody knows us and tell us they know us from the stories in the paper.
“When we were allowed to stay, Kevin and Kara were working so hard and Sinclair, Russell, Devona, and a lot more people and all the churches worked together for us. I have never seen any thing like that before
“I think we are very lucky and thank God all the time, we pray for all the community and the all the churches. I remember thinking we don’t deserve this, this is so wonderful.
“I remember them all the people and all the churches working together and I remember saying to Victor okay we have to stay here, we can’t move anywhere we have to help the community now.
“We try to do that, to pay back the community for all that the community had done for us.
“It was a miracle. I remember when you the Spectator made a banner for us that said “Let Them Stay” and all the people came out to support us and when we found out we could stay, we got the beautiful picture with the banner and all the people that helped us in all different ways. It was wonderful.”
“There are lots of people in Honduras who would like to come to Canada. It’s a nice place to live, it’s safe, they can find better jobs, there is better education, but it’s hard for people to come here.
“We’re thankful that we’re here in Canada and here in Moosomin. When we first came to Moosomin we had never been here and didn’t know anyone. But when everybody was so helpful we realized why God brought us here.”