Faces of Fort McMurray, Part 3

There are lots of wonderful things about Fort McMurray, but the aspect of our community that I most appreciate is its rich cultural diversity.  Walking through the halls at Keyano College in 2011 is very different than it was when I first made the big move to the educational environment in 1999.  People have come to this incredible place from all over the planet.  The languages you hear and the faces that you see can't help but remind you that we are ONE WORLD, a global community.

Ali Ahed Jomha is a former Iman of the Fort McMurray Islamic Centre, a mosque that opened in 1989.  Serving about 30 families then, the mosque and its religious leaders and educators now serve between 6,000 and 7,000 Muslims.

"It's a dynamic community," said Jomha.  "This is a very beautiful and peaceful city."

A cook at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre, Juan Rippe came to Canada from Bogota, Columbia about six years ago.  And while his parents came to Fort McMurray to work for Suncor, he stayed behind in Ontario, attempting to find work.  But after coming here for a vacation during the beautiful summer months, he was intrigued, and found the opportunity to explore his passion for cooking for which he had long been searching!

"I definitely see a career here," he said, "and a life."

Ronil Patel is an 11-year-old artist who is eager to share his cultural background with his new community.  Originally from western India, Patel loves to sketch using graphite pencils, to paint using acrylics and to play the piano.

"This is a really good home," he said. "It's a fun place."

Roni, Juan and Ali are some of the Faces of Fort McMurray, a series of video profiles that tell authentic stories about life in our northern town.  They tell it like it is, leaving us with an indelible picture of Fort McMurray, its people and its big spirit.


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