Haroun Yelfouf is originally from North Africa, Algeria to be precise. It was in July 2019 that he arrived in his "Promised Land" as he calls it. Canada, Quebec, it was a dream, a goal.
The kindness and availability of people
No, it is not in Montreal that Haroun first settled. But in Brossard, in the Greenfield Park sector. He immediately started looking for a job and that's when he joined Beaulieu Canada as a forklift operator. A job he had already been doing for a long time in Algeria.
The first thing Haroun remembers about his arrival in the country is the welcome, the kindness and the availability of people. And he makes a point of saying that he means everyone, people he doesn't know, organizations, employers, colleagues. Even the passerby who he asks how to get to the nearest grocery store.
I take responsibility for my choice
Yes, according to Haroun, a change of country has its share of hardships and especially of fatigue. And this is very easy to understand. Let's try to imagine a complete change of universe, with sometimes the language barrier or the adaptation to an accent, without friends or family, the search for a job, a place to live, a social life, financial stability, etc. It is quite understandable that all these elements, put together, play on the energy. We ourselves, in our little comfort zone, are exhausted in the early days of a new job, aren't we?
But Haroun is very clear. He assumes everything because it's his choice. His goal is to always remain positive; he wanted this change, so he doesn't want to put anyone through any part that might seem a bit negative. From his point of view, integration is a question of mutual respect. You have to know how to manage your own integration, whether it's in a new country, a new culture, a new job or all of the above at the same time.
We are the mirror of ourselves
When asked if he has ever had difficulties with being an immigrant since his arrival, in everyday life and at Beaulieu Canada, the answer is very quick. "No! First of all, you have to be open as an immigrant and then, you have to understand that we are the mirror of ourselves. If you are kind, positive, smiling, polite, chances are that people will be the same with you. Acceptance or non-acceptance is everywhere, in every country, every culture, every business, every family, every field of activity, etc." According to Haroun's opinion, a matter of human being and personality more than of geography.
"Sometimes you meet someone whose only way of getting to know you is to not accept you in the first place. Then it changes or not. It depends on the personality. But I don't have the reflex to tell myself, if someone doesn't seem to like me, that it's because of my origins. I see a lot more intelligence in people from here. Whether it's with me or with someone else, there are people who like everyone and others who like no one. It's the same in Algeria..." says our colleague, a smile in his voice.
When asked about what impressed him the most in the differences between Beaulieu Canada's work environment and that of Algeria, again his answer was quick. Safety first! And that reassures him a lot. It is so different from what he was used to.
Also, even though he already had experience in the trade, he greatly appreciated the comprehensive training he received. "They took the time for the training, they made sure I understood. It's stressful because there's a lot more than work going on in our lives at that time, but you don't want to let it show, you don't want to hold up your co-workers, you want to be nice, efficient and profitable."
One of the things Haroun appreciated was that he didn't feel pressured. He finds that rare in his profession, in the kind of environment he was used to.
The fruits of the investment
Since completing his training, his goal has been to make the investment pay off. "I am aware of the sacrifices and efforts my supervisors, colleagues and the company make when they train a new employee. They need to see the fruits of their investment. Otherwise, it would be disrespectful, a waste of time and money."
If you run into Haroun Yelfouf, say hello and don't be shy about asking him questions. He loves to talk about his origins, the particularities of his religion, about life, about anything and everything. Really, a very open and friendly person you need to know!