Both my husband and I had very difficult childhoods, so we promised each other that we would protect our own children from such an experience. When my husband was threatened at his workplace, we began to reflect on the future of our one-year-old daughter and unborn child—two innocents who did not ask to be brought into this world.
I come from Cameroon, a country where jobs are as scarce as diamonds. Furthermore, many who do have employment find themselves forced to observe irresponsibility and corruption. Therefore, having a job can be nearly as difficult as losing one. It was in the face of this instability that the idea of immigration entered our little house. We tried to go somewhere in Europe, and we did not succeed. But by the grace of God, Canada opened its doors to us. After two years of waiting, we received our skilled workers’ visa in 2014. I thought I was on my way to heaven.
During the preparations for the trip, I bought a beautiful pair of running shoes, so much more comfortable than the kind of shoes I normally wore. When we reached Montreal that day in March, I saw real snow for the very first time in my life. But I remember when we left the airport, a great sadness filled my heart. I thought about the family I had left behind in Cameroon. Everything around me seemed strange. Another thing that saddened me was that everything looked different from what I had seen on the YouTube videos I had watched in anticipation of our travel. Our host family lived in an area far away from the famous attractions of the city. And everything looked different in the winter.
A few days later, we went to open our first bank account in Canada. It was cold out and we didn’t have the right clothing for the weather, but we didn’t want to cancel our appointment. We missed our bus and were forced to continue on foot. My beautiful running shoes were not suitable for the snow, and my feet were so cold I was sure they were actually frozen. We stopped at a bakery to warm up, and I felt nostalgic for my hot, dry country. I remember saying to my husband that maybe we had made the worst choice of our lives. I was really in pain that day!
Given the economic and social situation in Cameroon, there was no longer any possibility of returning there, but we needed to change our situation here in Canada. We already spoke French, but we decided to go to an English-speaking area, to give our children the opportunity to be perfectly bilingual. We began searching for acquaintances in English-speaking cities and found a friend in Edmonton who agreed to welcome us for a few days.
I wore my running shoes on that trip, too, and I still have them. They are just shoes, older now and a bit has worn out, but they remind me of my beginnings in this wonderful country that opened its doors to us when we had no other way out. After almost nine years in Canada, I would say without a doubt that we did not make a bad choice. It’s true that I still experience language difficulties that prevent me from having my dream job, but I remain positive and work hard. Most importantly, my husband and I have been able to fulfill the promise of a better life for our children. Our daughter, our fifth child, was born just two months ago, and we know she will have a bright future.
Naviatou trained at university as a professional accountant and financial agent. She worked as an auditor in Cameroon for seven years. She is a happy mother to five children. and is working hard to achieve her goals in Canada.