Sudbury Living Library

'Canada has been very kind': Nigerian doctor on finding a new home in Sudbury

Chiebere Ogbuneke grew up hearing stories about life in Canada, as a young boy in Nigeria

CBC News

October 06, 2017

Chiebere Ogbuneke is one of the human "books" you can borrow at CBC Sudbury's Living Library on October 14, at the South End library. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

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"Sudbury Welcomes the World" is the theme of our Living Library event happening at the south end library. It will featured people who now live in Sudbury but who've come from away. This is a conversation with one of them, Chiebere Ogbuneke from Nigeria.  9:38

​Chiebere Ogbuneke was only 18 years old when he left Nigeria to study abroad.

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Ogbuneke was one of six children, and his father encouraged each of them to pursue an education outside of Nigeria.

"His aspiration was if any one of us wanted to study outside, he would do his very best, and my mom was supportive of that," he says.

Ogbuneke headed off to medical school in Russia — but not everyone was welcoming towards foreign students.

Many people thought foreign students were getting support from the government that they didn't deserve, even though the students were paying hefty fees to go to school. Ogbuneke says people on the street would tell him to go back where he came from.

"They dished out their anger on people, I believe, because of lack of understanding."

Ogbuneke says he grew up hearing stories about life in Canada from his uncle, and believed his family could have a better life here. (Supplied)

Ogbuneke knew he didn't want to raise a family in Russia and he began to look seriously at moving to Canada.

Growing up, he had heard many stories about life in Canada from his uncle, who had emigrated from Nigeria in the 1970s.

"The aspiration of anybody is to give your children more than you [had]," he says. "I believed that my kids would have a better life in Canada."

Ogbuneke and his wife — whom he had met in medical school — made their way to Canada, and eventually settled in Sudbury with their family.

While he's noticed traces of the racism he experienced in Russia, Ogbuneke says he likes to stay positive about his new home.

"Canada has been very kind to me and to my children, so I can't complain."

Chiebere Ogbuneke is just one of the "books" you can borrow at CBC Sudbury's living library on Saturday, Oct. 14. Ten human books—each with a story about how they came to Sudbury from away—are available for 20 minute loans. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the South End branch of the Greater Sudbury Public Library. Registration is at 10:30 a.m.

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