After spending more than a decade in a refugee camp in Kenya, I have had once in a life time opportunity to apply for a scholarship to study and live in Canada. This opportunity has changed my life forever. As we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday I would like to reflect on my journey to Canada and moments that I will remember for ever.
It was April 16, 2009 when I first got a letter from Canada that began with, “greetings from Ottawa!” and went on to inform me that I have been offered a scholarship at a University in Edmonton. As someone who has spent most of his childhood time in a refugee camp, this letter gave me hope and assurance that my future was bright. The program in which I was sponsored under is unique to Canada and is the only one of its kind in the world that is run by students to sponsor refugee students. After passing the Canadian immigration interview and undergoing medical checkups I got more excited and wondered what it was like to live in Canada. I received a second letter close to my departure date from students who were preparing to welcome me to Canada. In this letter, each one of them wrote a paragraph introducing themselves and wishing me safe travels. The closing paragraph of the letter read, “When you arrive, we will be the ones in the airport with signs that say Welcome… So you know where to find us.” After reading that, I was overwhelmed with joy and felt a sense of belonging to Canada. Few weeks after that, on August 21st 2009, I landed at the Edmonton International Airport and they were all there at 2 in the morning with a welcome sign smiling and excited to see me. I am grateful to each one of them and to me they have highly demonstrated Canada’s culture of kindness and love.
Fast forward to the day I received my Canadian citizenship. It was a day filled with joy and triumph as I felt honored to be part of the Canadian society and a complete sense of belonging. I am very lucky and proud to be Canadian. Canada is my home. Everywhere I have been; at work, at school, at the local coffee shop, I have seen first-hand the kindness, friendliness culture and loving nature of Canadians. Canada is the best country in the world and I feel proud and thankful to call it home.
I strongly believe Canada is the land of opportunity. Canada has transformed to me into someone who strongly believes that dreams are possible and everyone has the capabilities to make those dreams a reality. I am grateful to be here, to have received high quality education and the opportunity to work for a top tier global advisory firm. I am excited for the future and the many milestones ahead.
I wish our home country, Canada, a very happy 150th birthday!
Happy Canada Day!