SESQUI Stories: Gordon Opira Sasa


I was originally born in South Sudan, in Africa, and I came to this country roughly around 2002. Most people know South Sudan as a warring country. I left my original country back around 1986 – that’s the year I was born. We fled to Uganda as refugees. And mainly my whole life I grew up in Uganda as a refugee. And then we were offered an opportunity to come out here to Canada, and find a safer place to live and a place of opportunity. So I guess me and my brother took that opportunity. And it ended up being one of the best opportunities  – it changed my life that’s for sure.

The main reason I say it was a good opportunity because when you come here you’re given the chance to go to high school, that’s free. Where I come from, I never really went to school because money was pretty tough. But when I come here I was given a chance by many people.

There’s a difference between being born in a first world country and a third world country. The numbers alone (first and third) describes the gap between the countries. Africa is a great continent, but depending on where you were born it’s a lot different there. Most people are born with certain privileges and some people are not born with them. Some people are born in a place where they can voice their opinion because the power is on their side. When you’re a refugee you don’t have a lot of rights of speech because you’re in a different country, you originally flee your country. And if you’re a refugee you mainly go from place to place and you finally pick a place to settle, or to call home. We lived in Uganda for many years. Then, we had actually a church in London, Ontario, sponsor us. They sponsored us and they took care of us for about a year.

Settling in Canada was a pretty long process but it all worked out.

Canada is home for me, that’s for sure. Most people say “my original country where I was born will always be my country…..”, but Canada is definitely home to me. It’s one of those things where everyone will have a different opinion. I was always taught by my elders to never forget where you come from and I’m proud of my roots, but Canada definitely is home to me. And down the road, this is where my kids are going to call home. I’m proud to be a Canadian, there’s definitely no doubt about it. It’s a great place and I personally know that if you live in Canada, everything is within your reach.