There’s considerable excitement at the Emergency Reception and Orientation Centre (EROC) in Ballaghaderreen with the arrival of the first newborn at the centre since it opened back in March.
The baby has been named Eman and was delivered at 20 minutes past midnight last Wednesday, weighing three and a half kilos, in Sligo University Hospital to proud parents Farouk Alsaid and Abir Al Hariri.
The couple arrived in the EROC on May 5th last. The couple fled their home town of Daraa, after being persecuted by local Syrian police and authorities, before arriving in the Syrian town of As-Suwayda.
The couple then fled to Turkey by boat, staying on the Greece/Macedonia border for two months, arriving in Matilan in Greece where they stayed for a further 14 months. The family has other relatives currently living on the Syria/Israel border.
The child’s father worked as a vet while in Syrian while her mother was an English teacher. They couple are awaiting their work permits to work legally. The new arrival is the couple’s second child, named after her father’s mother. The couple’s other child is an 18-month-old girl, Afnan Alsadi.
Farouk and Abir are in the process of normalising their residency and work permit and hope to move from their accommodation in the EROC facility to a new home in Ballaghaderreen. Like in the Christian faith, the couple will invite family friends and neighbours to a special ceremony during which Eman will be bathed in “salted water” in an equivalent of a christening in the Muslim faith.
The family says it is delighted with the support it is receiving from the centre in Ballaghaderreen and received from the medical staff at Sligo University Hospital where Eman was born. However, they lament the lack of emotional support from other family members due to their displacement.
“Everyone is good to us here and locals are making an effort to make us feel that we are part of the community. Although there is the language and cultural barrier we still manage to adapt with the locals and their local culture,” said the happy couple.