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A Long Journey to Freedom

Time 0:02:31

Transcript:

It was never my dream to come to Canada. But I wanted to live in a country with democratic freedom. I was a member of the biggest opposition party in my country, DRC Republic democratic of Congo. The opposition party wasn't allowed to march or hold meetings. Me and some members of my party had been holding meetings at different places, including my house too because I had become the head of the party in my city and the number one enemy of the ruling party.

One night, the authorities came to my house to arrest me. While they beat me, one of the police heard me crying in my home language. I can’t be certain but I think he understood me. He gave me the chance to escape inland. He might have been someone from my same area. Left behind, my wife was assaulted and beaten from time to time because they wanted to find out where I was hiding. I didn't have another choice: I had to leave my country.

After being an asylum-seeker in South Africa for 5 years without refugee status, life became very difficult for almost everything. I couldn’t find a job in my profession even a simple thing like opening a bank account was difficult because I didn’t have refugee status.

It was at that time I went to the UNHCR. It took me 3 years with UNHCR to process my refugee status. I was expecting to be a refugee in South Africa but it took so long with following up that the solution came out that me and my family had to be resettled to Canada. Knowing that I would be very far from my parents after 7 years of separation: that was a difficult decision.

When we arrived at Toronto airport I was surprised. I had expected to see only white people working at immigration but I saw different people's from different regions of the world working there: Indians, Chinese, Blacks and whites working at the immigration office, I says wow ! My kids will have a future in this country, my wife asked me because of what ? I says to her that even if I won't make it our kids will make it, because I don’t see discrimination in this country.

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