Why is Black History Month/African Heritage Month meaningful for you?
Community Manager, Arborstone Enhanced Care
My name is Taiwo, and I am originally from Nigeria, the most populous Black nation in the world. I am a twin, and when twins are delivered among the Yoruba (my tribe), traditionally, they automatically go by the names Taiwo and Kehinde. Taiwo is the name given to the first twin, and it means go and explore, and Kehinde means the last to arrive.
True to my name, I love to explore, and Canada has always been first on the list of my dream destinations. However, my twin sister (Kehinde) was first to move to Canada in 2013, although I tried to apply twice before she did, but I was unable to continue with the process. My first attempt was in 2010; my wife and I, with our 6-month-old daughter, drove 6 hours to an approved center to take the IELTS. We got all the requirements ready, but by the time we were ready to put in our application, the available slots for nurses were already filled. After another failed attempt in 2012, my wife and I decided to stay in Nigeria and began to invest in trade, agriculture, and real estate.
Fast forward to 2019, and my wife suggested trying for Canada again. The political situation and crisis in Nigeria had become unstable and alarming to the point that terrorism and kidnapping had become the order of the day. My family and I were fortunate to have escaped a kidnapping that took place a few blocks away from our house. We put in our application, and then COVID struck – it was not until 2022, 12 years after our first attempt, that we could move to Canada as permanent residents.
Relocating was the most difficult decision we’ve ever made; we had to quit our promising careers, leave our businesses, families and friends and venture into the unknown. Halifax, however, received us with unimaginable warmth and hospitality. We were gifted with food, furniture, and clothing to the point that we became overwhelmed and started turning away gifts.
Today, I am truly grateful that I can call Canada my home, a beautiful country that has afforded me the opportunity of a promising future. My three beautiful daughters love it here and feel safe. My wife and I are again growing our careers thanks to an enabling environment, and our family is enjoying our second winter with hot cocoa and marshmallows as new homeowners.
Black History Month reminds me of how much, as a people, we have grown. Less than a hundred years ago, black people were taken from their homes and forced to live here amidst insecurities; today, we work hard to meet the requirements to move here where we feel safe and at home. Canada is a very cold land but with very warm people.