Farm hand who never stopped dreaming-my journey as an immigrant

Farm hand who never stopped dreaming-my journey as an immigrant
Farm hand who never stopped dreaming-my journey as an immigrant

Before I immigrated to Canada, I sent my wife messages telling her that when I got there, I intended on switching my career from a Business background to Law Enforcement. I wanted to become a Peace Officer. She must have thought I was losing my mind as this was a complete opposite of what I had done my entire life, and what I had envisioned myself to be. She couldn’t understand it as well, but was kind enough not to question me. I was a marketer by profession. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy starting afresh, but that wasn’t going to stop me. I even had an exact place in mind where I wanted to be posted, not that I had ever been there; heck, I did not even know how to pronounce the name right. But I was determined, and the day came when I bid my family and friends goodbye, leaving Kenya to start a whole new life with my family in Canada.

Upon arrival, searching for a job was my priority and soon I had my resume posted on all the major online career listings, updating them every single day. Unfortunately during this time, there was a freeze on all Government hiring in the province of British Columbia where we reside. This meant I could not apply for the job that I so loved. But that didn’t mean I had to sit down and wait. I applied for jobs from every newspaper listing and every email alert. I followed up on leads from friends. I got a few call backs, but never the real job. My first interview in Canada was with Staples; a stationary outlet in Langley BC. I was ready for the interview and I aced it. I got offered the job as a trainee copier at a wage of 10 dollars per hour, which is the minimum wage. I took it as a challenge knowing I had to start somewhere. Three days later, I got a call from an insurance company. They sounded promising offering me the world; a big salary, freedom to work on my own schedule, an office by the river, the whole shebang! It was all like a big dream. I went for the interview and again I passed with flying colors and was offered the job on the spot. I was given a big book to study and prepare for an exam I had to do. That was it, I thought, my dream job was here. I went to Staples and put in my notice. I quit.

But this turned out to be a big mistake. The insurance company existed, but it was not what it was portrayed to be. I later found out that I actually had to spend a lot of my own money first in order to get any money as renumeration. I was heart broken. I quit the job and went back to being jobless. But I wasn’t going to sit down and weep. I picked up from where I had left, looking for jobs on every newspaper. During my job search, I saw an advertisement asking for a farm hand with no experience. Most of the rejection calls I had received prior cited my lack of Canadian work experience. I decided I was not going to be picky as I needed to gain “that” experience most employers demanded. The pay was 12 dollars an hour, two dollars more than my previous employer. It wasn’t much, but it beat sitting at home doing nothing all day. I needed to have a sense of responsibility, and I needed it fast! I went for the interview and got the job. I was given directions to the farm to go the next day for an orientation. Here I was, raised in a home where we had no less than two farm hands and now I was going to be one.
My father worked hard all his life to make sure we got the best education, the best life and to make the best out of ourselves. I was not going to tell him what I did for as long as I could. I decided this was going to be the beginning of great things for me and my family. I promised myself I was going to make the best out of this opportunity. And yes. I did eventually tell my dad. He remained supportive and prayerful.

As planned, early the next day I went to the farm and was given a quick orientation. The farm wasn’t anything I had experienced before; it was a mink farm mainly for harvesting fur. Minks are small, angry and extremely dangerous animals. They have one of the strongest jaws in the animal kingdom and are quite vicious. They have a method of protecting themselves similar to the skunk that means a whole lot of stink when provoked. ( My duties there would involve shoveling the waste, feeding the animals, cleaning the cages, building cages, helping with harvesting and basically do what a farmhand does. I remember the farm owner looking at me and asking, “Are you going to be able to handle it?” I responded with a big resounding YES! I think that is one of the most confident Yes’s I have ever said. It was a dirty, smelly job, but I was going to do it. One week later, I began the job. My first task was to shovel the animal waste; we called it “shit shoveling.” This involved putting it in a heap, loading it on a tractor and disposing it in a compost pit. It had also been raining; the ground was soggy and the animal waste combined with its urine made a murky green stinking mess that would make anyone with a weak stomach throw up. But I shoveled it, I shoveled it with pride. Eight hours later I was on my way home, exhausted and stinky, I was sure my family could smell me from a mile away. I walked into the house and my wife didn’t seem bothered by the smell, she gave me a big hug plus a delicious meal.

During the summer the temperature rose and the mink feed attracted a gazillion flies. I would have lunch and flies would be buzzing all over me. I decided that I would be having my lunch in my car, just to maintain a sense of hygiene. I would work in sweltering heat, and that combined with the strong stench of rotting animal feed, the stinking waste and thousands of flies would make me feel hopeless for a few minutes during my day. But then I would put my headphones back on and listen to my teachings and I would be back to whistling and shouting my “AMENS” over the sound of angry, irritated minks. I remember one song in particular used to play every single day almost at the same time when I was driving to work; it was my mantra for the day. The song is by Building 429: “I Press On” (Click on the link, it is a blessing.)


For the next couple of months, my schedule was the same; wake up, go to work, shovel waste, go back home dead tired. Meanwhile my resume was getting updated every single day. I believed I was made for greater things in life and that my journey was just beginning. I prayed everyday on my drive to work, a habit I maintain to this day. I downloaded gospel audio clips that I listened to for 8 hours a day. Bishop T.D Jakes’ teachings were with me every single day. Every clip seemed to speak to me directly, urging me to press on, not to give up. It is as if the teachings were directed only at me.
I shared this with my wife, I told her how strange it felt listening to those clips and feeling like someone was talking to me every day. Every time I had my headphones on, I was overcome by this baffling sense of peace. It didn’t matter that my surroundings changed; there was a calmness that without doubt came from a Higher Being.
I think even the Minks could sense my sense of inner peace; I would go about my day indulged in the teachings, frequently shouting loud “AMENS” that I think may have startled those who were working around me.

My wife, she was always there for me urging me to keep my faith, praying and supporting me. To her I was her husband, not the farm hand. To our kids, I was a father, not a farmhand. When I got home, I was back to familiar smiles and laughter. Deep inside, I knew my wife felt sorry for me, but she never let it show. Her strength, prayers and words of encouragement kept me sane.

Meanwhile, the Government freeze on hiring had been lifted, and I applied for my dream job as a peace officer. I did the physical test and passed, I did everything else that was required and passed. I went for the interview and failed. I couldn’t believe it! But I vowed not to give up. About 5 months into the farmhand job, I got a call from a company that was contracted to undertake network management on behalf of a major telecommunications company in British Columbia. Its headquarters were in Atlanta Georgia. They wanted me to join their team! I went for the interview and passed. The next day I got a call from the company, but they said two of us made a very good impression to the interviewing panel and it was going to be a few days before they made the decision on who to pick. Those words sounded like a “NO” to me at that time, but I told God, “You have your plans for me, I leave it up to you” and I went back to the farm like nothing happened.

I remember just around the same time, it was breeding period for the minks at the farm, and this was the busiest most critical time of the year, it was hectic. I was going around the farm moving minks for breeding when the owner of the farm joined me. We started talking casually and I told him a bit about myself, what I did before coming to Canada and my education. He then paused, looked at me and said, “Well, I guess all your education and experience is of no use here huh?” That broke my heart to pieces. What he was telling me, was that in his mind I would remain a farmhand working for him all my life. I promised myself that was never going to happen. I was going to choose Whose voices I listened to. For sure his was not one of them. Two days later, I was on my lunch break at the farm when I got a call; the company I had interviewed for had decided to hire me. I was offered employment that paid better than all my previous jobs at the farm plus it had all the benefits. This was amazing news, I was getting there, and nothing was going to stop me. I called home immediately and got our youngest daughter on the phone. I told her, “tell mommy we got that job”. Our daughter, Stacy screamed on the phone so loud out of excitement, I think the neighbors must have thought something was wrong. She yelled at my wife who was taking a nap and told her the good news. Even at her age, our daughter knew what the new job meant to me, my wife and our family. That day I came back home to a big celebration, complete with a cupcake just for me.
I did my training and within two weeks I was working on my own, an accomplishment by itself. I was soon handling early morning shifts and closing shifts which were a preserve for people who had worked in the company for at least eight months and cleared the probation period. I was so determined not to look back, I poured all my energy to mastering my job and excelling in everything I did. I was feeling blessed, I never ceased praying and thanking God for shaping my destiny.

I once again applied for the peace officer job when the posting came out for the second time. I went for the interview and failed again! Somehow all the “fails” just made me stronger. I applied again when a third posting came out. I went for the interview and this time, I passed! I remember calling my wife when I was informed that I would be going in for a pre employment orientation. I told her, “honey we made it! We got the job, finally we got the job!!!” To me the struggle wasn’t mine alone, it was my wife’s struggle as well. Every rejection I faced, she faced it with me. Every disappointment I went through, she would be there to uplift me. My wife’s words were, “Do not be troubled honey, what belongs to you is on the way, and there is a reason you didn’t get in this time”. Those words kept me going every single day. Through prayers, family support and determination, my prayers were answered. I had gotten to where God had planned to place me. He had reasons for every struggle, every single step that I made. At his own time, he revealed it all to me. In less than two years, I achieved what many immigrants struggle to achieve years later. I followed my dream and never let any disappointments define me. I was not going to settle for less. I broke all the barriers and set my own targets. I reached beyond the sky, it was not my limit. I knew from the beginning I was destined for more, and I pursued it relentlessly.

All this taught me invaluable lessons that I share freely to encourage others. We must be careful not to allow failure and disappointments diminish our ambitions. Keep focused on the target and do not lose faith. Keep pressing on! However, while pursuing your dreams, do not forget to remove the focus from your circumstances, and share the love with those around you. I drew a lot of my strength from the love and support of my family. With them rallying around me, I was in absolute peace; one that radiated from my innermost being.

Here is what I believe: “You can start from the bottom. But it’s completely up to you whether you want to remain there.”

Robin Lesinko Taruru
[email protected]


Farm hand who never stopped dreaming-my journey as an immigrant


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