Said Abdullahi Mudey is excited to celebrate Canada Day for the first time.
The 35-year-old, originally from Somalia, came to Red Deer as a refugee last September.
“I ran away from my country because of war. It was a security problem and forced me to run from the country. I became a refugee in Uganda in 2012,” Abdullahi Mudey said.
He escaped Somalia alongside his father, brother and sister. The family spent many years in Uganda before coming to Canada.
“We got a U.S. resettlement in 2015. We did a medical check in 2016 … and in 2017, we were waiting for our last interview with the (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) when the travel ban affected us.
“(U.S. president) Donald Trump said six countries cannot travel to the U.S., including Somalia.”
A couple of years later, following interviews and another medical check, the family was accepted into Canada.
“When we came here, we landed in Calgary. Then they brought us to Red Deer. We didn’t even know we were coming to Red Deer,” he said.
“Since that time we’ve been here, and Red Deer is a very nice city. People are friendly and I just love it.”
Abdullahi Mudey said he’s been eager to celebrate Canada Day for some time.
“Canada Day and Somalia’s independence day is the same,” he said.
“What I have been seeing on the TV and in the media is sometimes Prime Minster Justin Trudeau will say, ‘Happy Canada Day, happy Somalia Day.’”
COVID-19 has impacted Abdullahi Mudey’s chance to celebrate a traditional Canada Day, he said, adding his family will likely spend the day together.
He said Canada already feels like his family’s new home.
“Everyone is very happy, including my father. Before we came here, he was having heart failure. Now, they’ve put in a pacemaker and he is not having big problems,” he said.
“Even if the UN were to give us to another country, I would want to come here. I didn’t see any challenge since I’ve arrived to Canada. I’ve only seen people with very good hospitality, helping us and saying to us, ‘Welcome to Canada.’ I didn’t see any problem.
“Now I’m a Red Deerian person. I feel like I belong to Red Deer already. I’m not feeling any home sickness. I don’t have any challenge. The first time we were coming, I (was nervous) … but now I’m OK. It is a sunny time – I’ve adapted.”
Abdullahi Mudey, who currently works at Walmart, said he wants to get a job where he can “help vulnerable people.”