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Conrad Oddoye

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Conrad Oddoye was born in 1998 in the United Kingdom. His parents are both from Ghana, met at university in Cuba in 1988. In 2005 his mother, younger brother, and himself moved to Canada, followed by his father several years later.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

Transcription

My name is Conrad Oddoye. And this is a story of my family’s immigration from the UK to Canada.

My family includes me and my mother Sarah, my father Collin, and younger brother Nathan.

My parents are originally from Ghana and met at university in Cuba in 1988. Following their graduation, they settled in the UK where they had me in 1998 and had my brother 3 years later.

In 2003, we went on vacation to Guelph, Ontario, in Canada where some of my parents' close friends from university lived. They loved how safe Canada felt in comparison to the UK, which, in the early 2000s, had an increasing crime rate. In Guelph, the general friendliness created an air of safety which led my parents to decide that this was the place that they wanted to raise me and Nathan in.

In 2005, when I was 7 and Nathan was 4, we moved with our mom to Canada. This move was a heavy decision. It required my parents to uproot their well-established lives. My brother and I, had already started elementary school, had made friends that we would be leaving behind. We also left behind aunts and uncles, cousins, and close family friends. Moving across the Atlantic meant that visits to see the core of our family in Ghana, including my grandparents on both sides, would be much less frequent. This is because the travel increase from a cheap 6-hour flight to a much more expensive, minimum 9-hour flight.

My dad stayed back and continued working in England, taking a week off to visit us every few months, for 3 years until he secured a job in Canada and was able to join us. This was one of the difficult realities of our immigration. I can still remember the Red Car airport shuttle that would come to take my dad away after his all too short visits, and the tears that would come from my brother and I. Ensuring our financial stability was a challenge that my father took head on at the expense of missing some of the moments of our childhoods. However, my brother and I had our mother. She was there while studying to become a massage therapist. A career she loves and has found success in, her third successful career since university in Cuba. She was there through all the difficulties of raising two energetic young boys and was adamant about keeping us on the straight and narrow, including all our endeavors including schools, music, and sports. For that I am proud and thankful.

Growing up in Canada provided my brother and I with a good education, a multicultural environment where differences are accepted and celebrated, and a safe place for us to explore and grow.

I like to think that whether we had left or not my brother and I would be on the road to success in our lives but the initiative my parents took to move miles away from the core of our family and ensured that my brother and I would have a safe childhood. Since we first arrived, we have moved within Canada three more times and have come to embrace change and all the new experiences and relationships that it offers.