What do you like about Hamilton?
I’ve worked in other cities in Ontario, like Winnipeg, so I often compare places with Hamilton. So far, Hamilton is my favorite place. I moved here as a refugee in 2009. Hamilton is nice because we are surrounded by a lake and industrial areas like Burlington. It’s a great commuter city. The mountain is something unique that I haven’t found anywhere else. The view is fantastic. Hamilton is also a great place for families.
What is your favorite thing to do here? What is your favorite place?
I like going to the Royal Botanic Garden, because you can’t find that anywhere else. I like biking from Dundas to downtown Hamilton.
Tell us one thing that people may not know about you?
People never guess by looking at me that I love to go fishing. I am very into nature and enjoy outdoor activities.
What do you do and what are your aspirations?
I am an Electric Engineer at Canadian National Railway. I also work at Abel Electric. I aspire to keep working as an Electric Engineer and develop my own business.
What is your message to other newcomers that are coming to Hamilton? Any advice?
When you dream, and you work toward your dreams, anything is possible. People told me that my only option is to go into trucking because I didn’t know English, or that I should become a personal support worker, which is what most immigrants from my country do. No one wanted to hear that I wanted to become an Engineer. I worked harder because of it. To improve my English, I went to English tutoring class everyday while studying Electrical Engineering at Mohawk College. As refugees, we usually come with no idea in mind about the future. Our focus is on survival, so we don’t think about the next step of imagining a career. My advice for newcomers is think about what you are going to do once you get here and plan for the future. Don’t limit yourself to what people tell you can do or you can’t do.
Tell us your story
I am from Congo. My family left because of war. We lived in Uganda as refugees before we were resettled in Hamilton in 2009 when I was 19 years old. We didn’t know we were coming to Hamilton first. We were told we would be settled in Toronto. I worked through a lot of trauma. When I came, I was put in grade 11 even if I haven’t received any formal education in Uganda for some years. I had to learn a lot and catch up. I finished, did a bridging program, and went to college. Now, I live with my wife and three children.