HASSAN AHMED MOUALLEM
In August, of 1959, Hassan Mouallem left his village of Kab Elias, Lebanon in order to come to Canada. He was one of the first of the Lebanese to come by airplane rather than by ship.In 1959, he flew into the Edmonton airport. He was in his early twenties when he came alone on this journey. When he came to Edmonton, Hassan could speak no English. However,he did carry an envelope with him and inside the envelope was a note written in English. This note would help him to communicate with others. He was able to take a taxi to his sister's place. As he travels to his sister's house,he is puzzled by the small buildings he sees along the way. He compares these buildings to the taller ones he saw in Beirut. Shortly after his arrival,Hassan gets a job in the construction business, even though,his English is poor at the time. He does, however, remembers the 24 year old construction foreman, who tried to learn the different languages of his construction employees. This foreman, eventually, learned some Arabic and he told Hassan that a person should always understand what is wanted to be done before a person goes and does some- thing. His job took him to a place ninety miles from Yellowknife where a dam was being built. Three other Lebanese, as well, were working at this site. It should be mentioned that Hassan did not do this type of work in Lebanon. He would remain at this location for about three months. The cold was very hard to accept, so Hassan asked to be laid off. By getting laid off, Hassan would be able to get his way paid back to Edmonton by the company. Upon his return to Edmonton, Hassan went into house building and stayed at this job until 1964. He then went to work for the City of Edmonton. Work with the City lasted for one year, after which he was laid off and returned to construction work. In time, the City called him back to work but he asked for some assurance that he would not be laid off again. He received that assurance. Hassan then was assigned to work at the Municipal Airport with the fire department unit. He enjoyed this type of work a great deal. After a while, Hassan and Gail, his wife, decided to send the children to Lebanon in order to learn Arabic and the Arab culture. Hassan then quit his job and went to Lebanon for the next six and a half years, The family returned to Edmonton in 1976 when the Civil War broke out in Lebanon. He has a family of five boys-three of whom were born in Edmonton with the other two being born in Lebanon. He is very proud of his family and what it has accomplished. Upon his return from Lebanon,Hassan began working with the City once again. This time his type of work would mainly be servicing for new buildings.Hassan kept working with the City until 1997. He, then, became a retired citizen of Edmonton. When asked about coming to Canada,Hassan says that in the beginning years, life was kind of tough. Work wasn't always easy to come by and money was short while expenses were high at times. Hassan Mouallem has learned from his life experiences that a belief in Allah and the idea of never giving up are essential to move forward in a person's life.