Born in Yaoundé, Cameroon |
Michele grew up in Cameroon, part of a bilingual family. She wanted to study overseas, and headed to France to do so. One day, after living there for twelve years, she decided to quit her job and pursue her dream of residing in an English speaking country. She first flew to New York City, where she had relatives and looked for a job. Soon after Michele was hired for a position in Toronto, a place she had no friends or connections. Michele explains how everything has gone quite smoothly here, and it is in Toronto where she met her husband. She has had a multitude of business opportunities, and this has kept her dreaming. Here, both at work and socially, Michele lives in two worlds – French and English. This is something she wouldn’t be able to do in NYC. Currently Michele works as the Services and Program Manager at Peel Region’s College Boreal, the largest Francophone College in Ontario.
Toronto as Home
The Runnymede Community Church in Bloor West Village is very important to Michele. Only one week after moving to Toronto she found this church on Google and became a member. It is here where she met her first friends in the city, and from them she learned many things about Canada. She also strengthened her English skills here, and found life’s balance and purpose. This community has been with her for both the highs and the lows and they have always supported her projects (like providing clean water to a school in Cameroon). The people of this church are her new family.
Connection with the Past
Michele is holding deep fried plantains and red beans, something that her mom taught her how to make.
“It’s through Cameroonian meals that I keep my origins, remember where I come from, and revive memories.”
She explains how when you cannot afford to eat either fish or meat every day, beans are a great source of protein and red beans are often found on a Cameroonian dining table for either breakfast (served with deep fried donuts) or lunch/dinner (served with plantains, yam, cassava, rice… ). This is a popular and affordable dish in all regions of Cameroon.