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More Voices


Every month More Voices invites readers to contribute short nonfiction prose pieces of 40 to 400 words on a healthcare theme.

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Just over a year ago, a group of my friends and neighbors--after seeing the heartbreak of those forced to flee from Syria--decided to sponsor a Syrian refugee family. We raised money, gathered clothes and furniture and prepared for the family's arrival. We knew this family had children ranging in age from two years old to twelve years old and had spent several years in a refugee camp. We also knew the youngest girl had some medical problems.

In January of 2016, we met the family at the airport. The parents looked exhausted, but the children were excited and eager. Over the next few months, we were able to arrange medical care for the whole family. A kind dentist agreed to look after the children's teeth, as they had had no dental care, and Syrians apparently love sugar. Another kind dentist took on the big task of treating the father's multiple dental abcesses. Both dentists waived their fees.

The youngest girl was small for her age and not talking yet. It was determined that she had some hearing impairment, and a small procedure dramatically improved her hearing. Just this week, the little girl, who is now three, demonstrated her ability to do a somersault, demanded a high-five, and, like all three-year-olds, repeatedly said, "Watch me, Janet! Watch me, Janet!"

The kindness and generosity of the local medical community has been amazing. But so has this famiy: learning English, enduring the cold Canadian winters, adjusting to school, 
learning to swim, playing soccer--and all the while offering all of us the opportunity to learn about them and their culture and even to learn some Arabic.

I have been enriched and humbled by this experience.

Janet Wright
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada