(Ottawa Citizen, June 6 2016)  At her modest apartment in Vanier, Nirmeen Alsebai greets a visitor with a table full of snacks, including several types of hummus and a specialty from her homeland called fatteh that layers toasted, crumbled pita bread with yogurt, tahini, garlic and lemon. It’s delicious.

The couple arrived with their four children in late December, one of the first Syrian refugee families to land in Ottawa as part of the massive federal government resettlement program. They didn’t know a soul or speak a word of English. They were exhausted, uncertain about what lay ahead and too overwhelmed to say much to the Citizen reporter who was at the airport.

That was only five months ago. But it seems like much, much longer. Sitting in the cosy apartment, chatting with the help of an interpreter, Nirmeen and Jehad are relaxed and upbeat.

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