Name: Elizabeth Asiimwe
Country of Origin: Born in Canada / Raised in Uganda
Growing up, I never knew I was different until I reached high school. It was in high school where, I discovered that I was different in terms of my skin colour. Growing up in Uganda, my parents told me I was born in Canada. I only knew Uganda, and it has always been my home country. The time came for me to travel back to Canada, the country where I was born. The country I knew I was going to start a new life far from home, family, and friends. Before leaving for Canada, my dad told me, "people are going to treat you different but, always remember you are special and unique."
Upon my arrival in Canada, I experienced seeing snow for the first time; it was an exciting, and strange experience. My dad’s friends picked me up from the airport and they were white friends. I noticed there were a lot of white people around me, and this is where it hit me, and I remembered what my dad told me.
The people seemed nice, and welcoming. My dad's friends took me to the hostel where I was going to be staying while in school. I felt sad and lonely; I did not have anyone around me - I had no family to run to. I could not connect with someone in fear that they would not understand me. The good thing is that I knew English, and I understood it very well, but I had difficulty talking, and connecting with white people.
School was a hustle for the first year with a new program, and the lectures were different. On top of that, I was a shy girl, but I eventually picked up on everything to do with academics. Things turned around when I met a new friend from Kenya. She was awesome, she was more outgoing, and she encouraged me to be more assertive and speak up. She encouraged me to say no to what I did not like especially to a white person, I was afraid of white people and I do not know why(lol).
It has been quite a difficult journey to settle in Canada as a young woman of colour. I had to get strong every day, and I embraced my colour, and had to remind myself that I am beautiful and unique. My friends say, ‘melanin popping,’ and I am not ashamed of being Black.
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