When William Bougaire scheduled the grand opening of his new Moncton restaurant, Le Maquis, for Saturday, he had no way of knowing it would follow on the heels of a brutal attack in his homeland.
Twenty-eight people, including six Quebecers, were killed during a 12-hour siege Friday in Burkina Faso's capital city. They died when four jihadist attackers linked to al-Qaeda stormed the Splendid Hotel and nearby Cappuccino Café in Ouagadougou.
Three University of Moncton students have been touched by these attacks. The university says a student's mother was shot and injured and the parents of two other students were taken hostage, but released.
Bougaire says he chose to go ahead and open Le Maquis as planned after receiving the news of the brutal attack.
"By persevering with this restaurant, I feel it's my way of showing my love of Africa, and my country, Burkina Faso, even if it's a small gesture. On opening day, not many customers knew about what happened — it's at the other end of the world after all —but my friends gave me their support," said Bougaire.
Bougaire came to Canada six years ago and was a student at the University of Moncton. He says it was a shock when he heard the news.
"We never have this kind of problems…it's a new thing," he said.
Bougaire says the people of his country are "very strong" and he believes "freedom is the most important thing for the population."
He says he hopes his restaurant will bring not only new flavours to the Moncton area, but also some of the culture of his West African nation to the city.
"There are many people of different countries and I think they have to mix it together and make a very great town — Moncton."