Hi people!! Today marks 1 month since we landed in Canada! Whoop whoop! I thank God for our journey so far. I also thank God for the beautiful weather. We have had 4 weeks of absolutely amazingly splendid weather since we came, except for 2 or 3 days of rain. I often say that we brought the fine weather with us.
We have taken the bus often in Ottawa. Now that we get the hang of it, we actually have used it more often than the other forms of transportation i.e. Uber. Lol! We haven’t driven yet. To be honest, we have not gone out much in our first month. But when we do, we like to hop on the bus.
It has helped us better understand our surroundings and the various neighbourhoods. When we get on the bus, I study the passengers in different areas, as they change from a majority of a particular ethnicity and demographic to another from bus stop to bus stop. It helps me understand what each neighbourhood is like, where to avoid and where we should consider renting in.
BABY MAMA DRAMA AVERTED
Anyway today on the bus, we had our stroller with our son in it in the reserved area on the bus. I know that he’s a grown man at 3 years old, lol. However, we walk a lot, and it is nice to know that he can sit in the stroller when he gets tired or wants to nap. On the days when we haven’t taken the stroller, our arms have suffered! He is a healthy chunky little man!
At a particular stop near Wellington, a lady with stroller got on the bus. There were people seating in the second reserved area (for strollers, wheelchairs, and people needing assistance) on the bus. So she shouted, “I need some space for my stroller, please!” We just asked our son to get up, packed up the stroller, and cleared the way for her to stay instead.
In true Canadian fashion, she was very grateful and thanked us. We thought nothing of what we did, it was the only sensible thing to do. She had a 6 month-ish old baby in the stroller. Meanwhile, our son was awake and could sit on his own in a proper seat.
SHE SAID WHAT???
Then out of the blue, the following conversation ensued:
Woman A (the woman with the stroller) to another woman: You wouldn’t believe the day I have had, and I still have a lot to do. I have to pick up my daughter from school, then go to the (stand?) to wait for my son who’s getting off the school bus.
Woman B (just another lady sitting across from her in the bus): Is it your child?
In my mind I was like “it??? Who says that?”
A: Yes, he is.
B: How many kids do you have?
A: Four. Well, three at home and 1 in foster care. We see him once a week on Sundays. He will soon have to decide if he wants to come live with us or if he wants to stay with his foster parents. We won’t turn away our child if he chooses us, but we will advise him to stay where he is.
Me at this point, “?????!!!!! Should we be hearing all this?”
B: I know what you mean. I also have a 13 year old son who at 16 will be eligible to decide. I currently live in a shelter and if he opts to stay with me, how will we cope or live?
A: Oh! They will then move you to the YMCA!
Fortunately, the next stop was ours. Even if it wasn’t, I was ready to get off. Coming from Nigeria, I was certainly aware of this. However, I was shocked that they were able to speak freely on a packed bus about their plight.
SUBMITTED FOR PROCESSING
I later realised that I was also jolted by the fact that there were homeless people in this our Canada, the “land flowing with milk and honey”, the “chance for a better life” Canada! These were Canadians through and through. Not immigrants, original Canadians, and yet they had found themselves destitute and fully dependent on the system.
I am not naive, I lived in England for a year during my MSc. I knew that even developed nations had homeless people. Perhaps it was God reminding me of this fact, because till today, I hadn’t seen any homeless person in Canada. Maybe I just wasn’t looking closely enough.
Then I did some soul searching. We didn’t come to Canada because we were broke. No, all the money in our POF (proof of funds) was ours. Not a dime was borrowed! We had worked hard in Lagos and were comfortable. However, we came here seeking better opportunities for our kids, a more stable environment for them to grow up in. A system that worked.
A country where good healthcare was not a luxury but a right of all citizens. We worked hard in Nigeria and we had proven to ourselves in Lagos that hard work and determination pay off in the long run. Thank God, because I would be feeling deflated and shattered right now if we had fled from poverty in Nigeria to Canada.
IT ALL STARTS IN THE HOME
Instead, I left the bus more determined. It was a reminder for me that all those “opportunities” we were seeking for our kids were available to everyone. However, what would set our kids apart in the end would be our home training, our instilling in them the mental toughness they require for life, our constant and unrelenting prayers for them.
Furthermore, we have to lead by example. We have to work hard, so that our children grow up knowing that they have to give 100% in everything that they do. Their success is assured by God’s grace alone, and not because they are in Canada.
ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AND THE “CANADIAN DREAM”
Then I made a quick stop on Nairaland and saw this Youtube video:
For some reason, it brought back all the feelings I had earlier in the day hearing those 2 women discuss on the bus. You see, I am sad for these ones. I am sad that they were desperate enough to flee to Canada illegally. However, I wonder sometimes…..I know there are some who in spite of their hard work, they just could not make it in Nigeria. Nigeria is a developing nation with so many challenges that I can’t even be bothered to list here.
Similarly and as Mr. O pointed out tonight, I do not know everyone’s story. Perhaps the women on the bus earlier had suffered from mental health issues that resulted in their current situation. Or perhaps, woman A had had these 4 children solely for the benefits that she would receive. We have heard of people in the UK, Germany and Canada doing this. The Mathematics of it still does not add up in my head, but I guess for some people, it makes sense to procreate for benefits.
WRAPPING IT ALL UP
I am afraid to say but some people are just lazy and looking for instant wins. Step 1: Go to Canada, Step 2: Get rich! I am not sure what book they read this in, but it is a big fat lie! Success is not a 2-step journey. Riches may be acquired in 2 steps though i.e. Step 1: Buy a lottery ticket Step 2: Win $1 gazillion! With immigration however, it doesn’t work like that. And if any of these ones have such hopes, they will certainly be disappointed in Canada.
To anyone who just wants the child benefits that the Canadian system has to offer, who doesn’t want to work, but wants the system to work for them, I say good luck. Unfortunately, it is just a vicious cycle and the rot continues. Because, they will raise kids who will watch them laze about all day waiting for the benefits cheque in the mail. Sadly, there is then a high probability that the kids would end up with the same mindset. That is the vicious cycle which is just so hard to break out of.
More determined as a result of my learnings today, I intend to continue to give my all in homeschooling our son, and in our small business (I will discuss this later) which I run from home. Well, when I am done writing this post that is! Lol!
March with purpose and determination!