The Journey of a Syrian Refugee

Posted in Faith,Family

Three years ago, Mtanios (Tony) fled his home in Tartus, a seaside city in Syria, with his wife Suhair and their two sons Rony (15) and Roberto (13). They arrived in Adelaide as refugees and tried to build a new life in Australia. The journey has not been easy.

Though he is a qualified brick-layer, his struggle with English has left Tony unemployed. He came to St. Andrews by the Sea Uniting Church, for food shortly after the pandemic began. Tony communicates more easily with the translator app on his phone where he also has a video of Tartus and the home he built. Many of the buildings, including his home, are no longer standing because of the war. Tony looks at the images and tears pool in his eyes.

Before becoming a volunteer at St. Andrews, Tony would walk along the shore between Brighton and Glenelg for hours each day, seeking solace. ‘The sea takes all the negative energy from my body,’ explains Tony, ‘It is a bridge between here and Tartus for me.’ Tony says being a volunteer gives him a sense of belonging in Australia. ‘Volunteering is the hope I have now,’ he offers, ‘I have suffered a lot and I no longer want to deal with money.’

When invited to share a word through the newsletter, Tony smiled, spoke into his translator app, and out came: Thanks to Australia I live in. She fed me from the first moment I came. There is peace, safety, security for children. It is my wish to live in peace with everyone here. This is important for human life.


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