She was African in origin. The country of origin isn't the issue. It could have been one of a dozen over the last 10 years. She had come to Canada because she couldn't stay in her country. Her politics didn't match the politics of the day in her homeland. She was bright. Very bright. She was outspoken. As a student attending university she had been recognized as a leader amongst her peers. She chose to join a movement of students that wished to make a different country to live in. Joining the movement wasn't the problem. It was her outspokenness in the movement. As she put it to me, "it's okay to protest, but not too loudly".
Her mother had been visited by officials who had warned the older woman that her daughter needed to "be quiet", or else. Her mail box had been vandalized looking for incriminating communication. Her car had been set afire. The ultimate attack came when she left a meeting late one evening and was physically assaulted and knocked unconscious. The police treated it as random violence. She knew better.
Courageously and sadly, she chose to leave her homeland to come to a safer place. She chose Canada because she'd heard that it was a place where ideas could be expressed and conversations could be had. She travelled to a nearby country and began the process of seeking refugee settlement. It was because of safety issues that she sought it. The Canadian delegation listened politely to her story taking copious notes. After 3 years of waiting, she was given the good news. There was a group in Canada wanting to take her into their lives as a new Canadian. She was overjoyed. Six months later she landed in a major Canadian city airport and began her journey in Canada.
That was 10 years ago. She's still bright and still outspoken! As I listened to her I realized she didn't "suffer a fool" easily. She's completed Canadian education and now works in an organization that assists the poor and marginalized. That outlook is deep within her heart. She's not violent, but she's insistent. We need to take care of the poor.
I think she's a great addition to the country of Canada.
If you or someone you know would be interested in volunteering with New Hope, check out our Take Action page, call us at 778-394-1191, or email us at
New Hope Community Services Society
13478 Hilton Road
Surrey, BC V3R 5J4