The Lai family came to Canada in 1979 to rebuild their lives after enduring 20 years of civil war in their native Vietnam. The Lais were especially lucky. They were sponsored by a group of community members in Edmonton, Alberta. For a brief time they lived in the home of the Bessai family.
The Lai family consisted of the father Hung, his wife Mui, and sons Bao and Binh. Everything was difficult for them at first. But things were made easier as each family shared parts of their culture. Carl Bessai and his brothers took the Lai boys outside and taught them hockey. It was this quintessentially Canadian game that helped the Lai family become skilled in English.
Mui Lai took to preparing elaborate dishes of Asian cuisine for dinners that became bonding rituals between the two families.
The Lai brothers eventually started a company in Edmonton, constructing cabinets for new houses. The business is thriving and the Lais are now part of a vital Vietnamese community, actively contributing and participating in Canadian life.