My first meeting with the newcomers took place a year ago when they arrived at the Calgary International Airport.
A couple of things struck me on that December night.
For instance, the number of locals present to warmly greet the refugees. There were “Welcome To Canada” signs, bags of winter clothing, toys for the kids, and plenty of smiles for everyone. Some of the refugees even had family members, already established in Calgary, on hand to welcome them, hugging and crying.
Shortly after that introduction at the airport, Calgary Herald reporter Annalise Klingbeil and I discovered that most of the government-sponsored refugees were being housed at a budget hotel.
Over the course of a few weeks, I documented the lives – and the adjustment – of the families. I made sure to keep my camera on silent mode and spent more time observing and making everyone comfortable with me before I even started photographing.