An Open Letter of Gratitude to Canada
It all begun when I was asked by my cousin to travel with her to Ottawa. I had one week to prepare. Thank God that in 1992, you allowed the Islands of the British Common Wealth to come to your shores with only an approved passport. We didn’t have to travel to Barbados to obtain a visa for visiting relatives and friends who had already settled in your land. Now that I am Canadian, I’ve met many people from various nations, including Canadians who have no clue where St.Lucia is on the map. Canada you’ve granted me the privilege to apply dual history and diverse culture.
I was fortunate to have landed on one of your most prestigious airports- Pearson International in Toronto. After our passports were stamped with all kinds of important information, we made our way to the vast space to wait endlessly to be taken to Ottawa, your Capital. As we waited for what seemed like forever, for the strangers whom we’ve never met before to pick us up from Toronto, I couldn’t help but observe while waiting that you had all kinds of strange people in your land: people whom I have never recognized or seen before in my homeland of St.Lucia. My eyes opened so wide that I had no time to take a nap or to sit still after our 5 hours plane ride. The energy of so many nations moving in all directions simply mesmerized me.
At 26 years old, you were my first virgin flight, I arrived on your land in the cold month of April. It seem ordained that I had to come to you for the other two and half decades of my life. The Creator had a greater plan for my life and for you O Canada; for you have taught me things that no other nation on earth could have taught me. You transformed me into a strong, mature, and confident Afro-Caribbean-Canadian woman. You chose to adopt me, engrafting me into your culture, your people, and your landscape.
It was not easy at the beginning, but you made it possible for me to see my way through the many languages,accents, dialects, which my ears had to get adjusted too. You’ve allowed me to walk through your educational institutions without discrimination, and if it existed while I was there, I didn’t dwell there, for I knew that my new motherland was greater than the ideology of an oaf; her approach is that of dignity and the value placed on human lives.
Because of you I have made friends or met others along my way from various countries on earth. You showed me how to be kind by the way you show kindness to all who come to you for refuge. You are a harbour where the hurting and the dying come for refuge; and you give hope to they that have dreams and want to soar.
In this great year 2017, as you celebrate 150 years of standing for peace, love and quality (equality); I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to you for creating policies with me in mind. For giving me the privilege to have access to social services, health care, and continuous education. I want to say thank you for providing for my two daughters whose navel cords are buried in your soil. Thank you for opening new doors for me. Thank you for being one of the best countries in the world.
Stay safe Canada, you are loved!
jjf © 2017