Sultan is a taxi driver in Ottawa.
I hopped into his blue and white cab on my arrival to Canada’s capital city.
Neither of us spoke as I rode in the backseat, Arabic music playing on the radio.
I asked him where he was from.
“Lebanon,” he answered with a smile in the rear view mirror.
Like many immigrants, he explained that he came to Canada in search of a better life.
“From Lebanon, my family moved to Dubai where my wife and two young children are living,” he said.
While living there he was gainfully employed as a construction manager. He continues to do this type of work when he goes back.
“It was easier for me to find work there with my Arabic language,” and he said that he made good money being a foreman.
Sultan came to Canada with hopes of applying his skills in the same profession, and bringing his family over to live together. But the language barrier and lack of connections prevented it.
“If I spoke Italian or Portugese I could get a job,” he said. “I knew someone in Toronto and heard about another in Montreal but I don’t know anyone in Ottawa. Its easier when you have connections.”
To provide for his family he will continue driving his cab and making the 20-hour trip back to Dubai twice a year to do construction work.
“It’s very hard being so far away,” he said while nodding his head.
“My wife won’t do it anymore so I go back and forth. I hope this will be temporary for me and that I will go back to live with them.”