Kenyan Immigrant shares story of the ‘Canadian dream’

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Kenyan Immigrant shares story of the ‘Canadian dream’

Kenyan Immigrant shares story of the ‘Canadian dream’
Photo/Courtesy

On May 30, 1999, Abdi Sokoro arrived in Saskatchewan from Kenya to be reunited with his wife and five children, who came as refugees from Somalia two years earlier.

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Sokoro said the transition from Eastern Africa to the Prairies is difficult to describe in words. He said calling it ‘different’ is an understatement.

“Ecstatic, challenging, exhilarating, at times intimidating, but just different. It’s almost like if there’s any way to accurately describe rebirth in my own view,” he said.

“Yes you’re leaving behind one life, you’re coming to start a new life. A new life of course comes with challenges and assumptions and rewards at the same time so it was that, and I don’t think I’m doing any justice in describing it.”

Sokoro said when he and his family came to Prince Albert, refugee and immigrant resettlement was a novelty; there were only two or three other families in similar circumstances. He said he didn’t anticipate such a warm welcome.

“It was pleasantly surprising but very gratifying,” he said.

“All that work welcoming us, helping us settle back in … we can never forget. So the welcoming was superbly wonderful.”

The Sokoros lived in P.A. for three years before relocating to Regina. Five years after that the family moved to Winnipeg where Sokoro now works as clinical biochemist.

Over the past 16 years, Sokoro has continued to maintain contact with his friends in P.A. When they invited him to return and tell his story, he saw it as a chance to acknowledge and pay back the P.A. community that helped his family acclimate to life in Canada.

Sokoro returned to P.A. on May 2 for a speaking engagement at Prince Albert’s John M. Cuelenaere Public Library, called “From Africa with Love.”

He described his remarks as a presentation of his family’s experience “living through the Canadian dream and getting where we are.”

“It’s a process of integration and a process of rebuilding life all over a gain,” he said.

He said he hoped to reach two audiences with his talk: those actively involved in refugee or immigrant resettlement and sponsorship, and the actual newly-arrived immigrants themselves.

“I’m hoping by hearing my story and my family’s story, specifically my wife’s story, that they will understand whatever might be arduous, whatever might look intimidating, is fictitious to a certain point and that that can be overcome with time and with perseverance and hard work.”

paherald.sk.ca

 

Kenyan Immigrant shares story of the ‘Canadian dream’

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