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A Place to Live

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I grew up in the capital of Peru. When I was little, I watched my neighbours selling many things in the street to support their families, but their children had uncertain futures because of poverty.

My father always shared the things that he had – food, books, his knowledge, with the people who asked him for help. I learned from him to share and to be in solidarity with others.

I was lucky to have a father who was a professional and who paid for my university and a mother who taught me to be a strong woman. As I grew up, we were able to live in a better neighbourhood and to go to a better school. But I learned it is not enough to be accepted. As an adult, I witnessed discrimination against black people, and Indian people. One time, I listened to the people around me talk about how dogs were better than black men. I heard small talk about the most important thing is your last name and where you were born. I would think, what kind of conversation would happen behind my back?

My husband was working for a Canadian engineering company who offered him a job in Montreal. This was the kind of opportunity we were waiting for. When we arrived in Montreal, I finished my French studies, and my daughter started the second grade. I was surprised at the quality of the public services, and that these services were available for everyone without discrimination. I know that not everybody is equal, but the law is applied to everybody equally. This is the world that I want to show to my daughter. She can do anything she wants to do without the prejudice, or violence that was in my country.

Now we live in St. John’s. We have started new projects and have new goals. I am learning English. I have started a small business designing and selling sweaters. And my daughter is learning traditional Newfoundland music. Everybody says that the weather is hard - they have never lived in Montreal! The people are very friendly, just like the people from the villages in Peru. It’s not a big city, but it’s a good place to raise children.

I will never forget my country. I have my family and friends there. I keep Peru in my heart for everything it gave me. Also, I admIre and appreciate Canada, because this country warmly welcome me and my family without prejudice or discrimination.

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