Expressing thanks to "My Halifax Experience" and founder Ifeanyi Emeshi for creating a platform for immigrants in the Maritimes (New Foundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island), to showcase their stories. How we have built our lives, faced barriers, challenges and overcame to become good citizens who are giving back to our communities.
I was honoured to be nominated and received an award as one of the Top 25 Immigrants in the Maritimes. The evening was particularly special because among the other award recipients was my husband David Divine and our son David P B Divine, the official photographer for the night.
I must confess I shed a tear, and my friend Barbara Miller Nix (one of the first people to befriend me in Canada), sitting beside me said, "look how far you've come. If I had told you, then it would get better you would have never believed me." And that is the truth.
Reflecting back on the early years of struggles, pain, fear, being separated from family and friends and being a strange environment took its toll.
My story is not unique but listening to others, we all share that common bond of the emotional and physical feelings of loss when we first arrived as new immigrants. It takes about ten years to settle finally.
The Maritimes is not a leisurely picnic nor Canada's playground. It takes courage, perseverance, risking everything, being patient, hard work and finally making one's peace with the rocks. At least that's what I did.
I am thankful for all the incredible things I have accomplished.
Taking one step at a time to climb the mountain of challenges we face. I stretched myself beyond my comfort zone. And with the help and support from people in my community, even those beyond believed in me, and cheered me on when the chips were down. We also shared great memories of fun, joy, and laughter. We created family and friends around us.
An event such as this is inspiring for all of us, and I was so excited to see the diversity of brilliant young minds joining from all over the world to attend our universities. We can only grow from here!
Congratulations to my fellow Award Winners. We are but a few named individuals who have contributed to enriching our region and clearing a path for others to follow.
Thanks to the organizers, the sponsors and other supporters for their commitment to seeing our Maritimes grow and prosper.