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By Matthew Le Blanc

Joyce Moffat says when she came to Canada she looked like an old woman. Back in Zimbabwe she says there was “too much killing” and she feared someone would break into her home and drag away her family in the middle of the night. Now she no longer has those stresses and can live a much more peaceful life.

“I’m not scared anymore,” Moffat said to a room of soon-to-be Canadian citizens. “I eat, I sleep, I work, I am a human being. Thank you Canada.”

Since she arrived in Canada, Moffat now has things she never dreamed of having back in her native country, things that were considered luxuries. She has a car, a house where she raises her children, two jobs and the peace of mind that comes along with it.

Moffat was only one of the 35 newly sworn in Canadian citizens in attendance to take their oath of citizenship in Mohawk’s McIntyre Theatre on Oct. 20. Each of them hailed from one of 17 countries, including Egypt, Africa, China and the Phillipines.

Among the group was second-year Mohawk student, Essraa Mahmod, who is currently taking the school’s Network Engineering program.

“Now I’m in a safe country and now I have a future for me and my kids,” Mahmod said before the ceremony. “I am so happy to be a Canadian and I wish one day Iraq can become like Canada.”

Even though only a few people had a chance to briefly retell their journey to Canada, being thankful for having the opportunity to find success and safety for their families was a common theme.

The ceremony, which was held during national Citizenship Week, was Mohawk’s second of 2010. Mohawk was also the first college in Ontario to become part of the Institute of Canadian Citizenship.

The Institute is a national, non-profit organization that is devoted to keeping Canadians informed and educated about citizenship.

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