Country of Origin:
Fernanda came to Canada from Sudan. The journey was overwhelming for Fernanda and it was not easy for her to travel to Canada with her children to meet her husband.
My name is Fernanda. Fernanda Akej. The last name of the of the family is casual. The reason I am still taking Akej is because it is tradition.
I came from Sudan, Khartum, 1992. I left Khartum. I took the lorry - the lorry is the bus. We took it - me and my kids - on the desert for three days. And then we reached the place called Haifa.
From Haifa we took a ship. It wasn't easy for me to board the ship because I didn't have money. My eldest kids went into the ship. Me and my younger daughter and son - we couldn't go on the ship because they said we had to pay money for that. So I told my kids to get into the ship to go to Cairo.
I had my bible, so I was praying, asking God - the God who gave me those kids - I asked him, "My God, do not separate me from my children, because I'm already separated from my husband for five years."
While I was praying, somebody came and asked me, "Why are you sitting here, while people are going into the ship?" So I said that I didn't have money to get into the ship. So he said, "I will lend you money to get on the ship." So I got on the ship.
After I got on the ship, we came to Cairo. In Cairo, I didn't know where to go, I didn't have money, but I only had hope because I had my husband, but he was in Canada. When I came to Cairo I refused to get out of the train, but we got on another train. That train was the worst train. The train had goats and ducks in it. People were shouting - selling tea, selling food. I just sat there with my kids. My younger daughter was three years old, and I had my older daughter and stepson.
So we reached Iskandaria. When we came to Iskandaria, we met some students. The students knew my husband before because my husband was a senior coach. He was a senior coach back home, but because of political problems they put him in jail, they beat him up, and then it wasn't easy for him to stay. And I'm the one who told him that if there was a way for him to leave the country.
So he went to New York. From New York he came to Canada. He said, "It's much better to come to Canada because it will be safe for the kids" and it would be easier for him to find a way for his kids to come to Canada.
That took me five years in Egypt. It wasn't easy, and I will not forget that.