Beginning my New Life as a Newcomer to Canada
When I first arrived in Canada, everything was new to me. It wasn’t easy as a newcomer to learn the new way of life. I had jet-lag for over a month, so I was awake while other people were sleeping. Learning how to use things like the bus system and other different services was important but was not always easy for me. I had to apply for all my documents like health card, I had to get a bank account. And I went to the dentist for the first time ever in my life. Life in Canada was safe and new but there were many things I had to sort out upon arrival. I came in the fall and was impressed with all the fall colours, but in a few short days all the leaves had died and the trees were bare.
My first winter in Canada came fast. I enjoyed helping people with shoveling the snow from their driveways and sidewalks.
In my first few months in Canada, I volunteered at Immanuel Christian School in Oshawa. My English accent made it difficult at times to communicate with people. From there, I then got my first job in Canada. After my first year of resettlement in Oshawa, I moved to Ottawa to pursue higher education at the University of Ottawa. While in Ottawa, I continued the process of trying to get settled in Canada and was able to apply for Canadian citizenship. On October 19th, 2015 I became a Canadian citizen.
After being in Canada for a few years and learning about life here, I found that this country is blessed with opportunities. Knowing the many challenges that people were facing back home, I wanted to take the opportunity of being in Canada and use my good fortune of being here as a way to give back to the impoverished community where I came from. In January of 2015, I started Baraka Victory Centre, a non-governmental organization with philanthropic and humanitarian goals. We are currently collecting donations for severely under-resourced communities. We are also helping a number of young adults to better their lives in the future by receiving a university education through our sponsorship program. http://bvc-drcongo.org/how-you-can-sponsor-a-child/
This December, I returned to Africa for my first tour with Baraka Victory Centre, where I was able to see the community where I lived as a child. It was my first time being back home in 11 years and I was happy to see family and friends. I had not met with for many years and spent lots of time catching up.
I was reminded of memories from my childhood and saw many familiar places.
At the same time, it was difficult to see how different things were. Some places that used to be beautifully maintained and in use within the community had become run down. The community seemed to be struggling much more than before war times. I was both happy to be there and sad to see how difficult the life had become, for the community that I love.
You can read more about me becoming a Canadian citizen if you follow the link below, where a local newspaper did a story on my citizenship. The article can be found on page 19.
More stories to come…