The Land of Honey- Chinenye Obiajulu

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“He had spoken of this fear so often, and wanted to avoid being a statistic. Back home we had jeered at stories of professionals who had left home, chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, only to become hewers of wood and Fletcher’s of water in foreign lands. I listened, consumed by the maelstrom of my innermost thoughts and emotions.”– Chinenye Obiajulu, The Land of Honey

This is the story about Anuli and Zimako, a young, successful married couple from Nigeria who decide to move to Canada.Of course immigration is rarely a bump-free ride, as this book shows.

What interested me a lot was the pre-story, the story before the couple moved to Canada. It shows all the difficult and tough decisions they had to make and so on. It also shows alternative reasons people might move and immigrate, not just famine and war as is often suggested in the cases of Africans. One gets a real sense of sacrifice and loss from this book; immigration can be a grief process in ways, leaving the only home and way of life you’ve known and entering the unknown.

The journey to adapt to Canadian life is difficult and the couple do go through stress, some of it which comes about due to racial microaggressions (“You speak such good English!”), but also due to people trying to take advantage of the vulnerability of new immigrants, the high expectations of people back home, different climate, difficulty in finding the food you are accustomed to, and changing relationship dynamics:

“I realized I was changing. My circumstances were remoulding me. Canada was changing me.”

I wish everyone who complains about immigrants taking their jobs would read this book. Perhaps only then will they begin to understand, as the author put it so well in her book, just how difficult immigration to Canada is; it’s stressful and one’s life is often changed completely upside down. The stories in here are pretty representative of what I’ve heard from immigrants to Canada. Although not my stories, they are the stories of family members, family friends and others. I think (hope) a lot more people will have some empathy for immigrants once they read this story.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review

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