A Canadian based Nigerian shares his story of success not without hardworking and resilience.
Tunde Omotoye narrates how he left Nigeria for Canada in search of the much hyped greener pastures. On getting to Canada, his promised Land, things weren’t as expected.
Well, it took a hardworking and relentless Nigerian to turn the tides to his favor in a foreign land. And that’s Tunde’s Omotoye story, read below.
“I should share a story of how I once worked in a sausage factory standing 8 hours a day on the sausage line.
Then at nights I was a traffic controller out in the cold, so I could see myself through school.
I can clearly remember the day I picked up my Canadian Visa at Ikeja. Very happy, but it came with mixed feelings. Man had an okay job with a promising career, but man wanted to see what was out there.
Like a viking leaving the comfort of his cave to go hunt in the cold winter.
It was a student visa to study in one of Ontario’s fastest growing and best college. One thing though, was that man hadn’t paid a dime in fees. To be honest, it was even a miracle that the visa came through.
But I guess sometimes when it’s time, it’s time. Regardless of you meeting the eligibility criteria for something or not. I wasn’t going to turn down an opportunity because I wasn’t ready.
A baby won’t ask to return into the womb because the baby came out at 7 months.
Cut the long story short, I landed Toronto with two thousand dollars to my name.
That money won’t even pay a quarter of my school fees, but a general doesn’t run back in the face of a war. If we die here, we die here.
I attended the first week of lecture in January that year.
Blended in, but when my name started missing from the attendance sheet. I began to think, maybe man got to return to Lagos. Because, really, my job was still waiting for me there.
I researched all possible scholarships and grants available to International Students.
But man, at that point it was like me trying to use fire extinguisher to put out an already burnt house. It’s either fees or no fees oga. The 2nd week, I went to the admission office and requested that my admission be deferred for 4 months. Why? They had asked.
‘Culture Shock’, I said. I had explained about everything being new to me, the weather (which was extremely cold), the people, everything.
In all fairness, I did get culture shock.
So, man just got to business. Registered with a job agency. They called me in for interview to assess and see where I could fit in. Me thinking, with my HR experience and U.I certificate man would get some correct office setting job. LOL.
They pushed me to a sausage factory. On my first day, I looked at my hands trembling from packing cold sausages and asked myself, ‘man, are you sure you’ve made the right decision of coming to this country’?
Perseverance, Resilience, Tenacity all said to me, “you can do it”.
My office and desk in Lagos were probably still empty at that point, but there I was standing 8 hours, day in, day out flicking sausages.
Some nights, I’d have nightmares that sausages were chasing me in my dreams, but that did not stop me from resuming the next morning.
Fast forward to parking thousands of sausages later, I had made half of my first semester fees. I shared my story with my brother and he was able to raise the other half with a very good family friend. My babe too supported me from Lagos.
Family and love came through.
Progress. First semester don set, I got enrolled.
While in school, I picked up a night shift as a traffic controller in a busy amusement park and during weekends, I cleaned robots for 12 hours on Saturdays and 12 hours on Sundays in a Toyota manufacturing plant. Long story diced into bits, part of 2nd semester fees was made while working those odd hours and shifts. The spirit was tired, but not broken. There was an end goal and that was where man kept his gaze.
Due to good grades in Class, and based on track record of experience, I got an internship into one of the largest Insurance Co in Canada, and at the head-office at that matter.
In this company, we die here! I was going to put in the best ever.
While at my internship, I started working towards getting the Canadian HR Certification (CHRP). Mind you, I kept my robot cleaning job. You wear tie in the afternoon, you carry mop in the night. No time.
There were distractions, bad days, but man kept his eyes on the goal.
At the end of internship, I had paid off remainder of my fees. Passed my CHRP exam and became a certified HR professional.
I was retained at the company and worked there for one more year and a half before moving to one of Canada’s Big 5. These days, I take the subway 15 mins from home to the office at downtown Toronto and remember those days, those nights and I can’t help but smile.
If anyone had said that’s what you’d go through I would have said I couldn’t. But we really do not know what we are capable of. Don’t be distracted, don’t look down on yourself regardless of whatever it is you are doing to get by.
You can and will do it, and it’s only a matter of time because heaven will definitely reward you.
Man still has a long way, but man has also come a long way too.