A family of seven is finally back together after three years of living on separate continents.
Joy Maxwell came from Nigeria to Saskatchewan to write a nursing exam, hoping to obtain employment and eventually bring her family over.
“I thought it was just going to be a few months,” she told CTV Regina.
Those months turned into three years.
Maxwell said being apart from her husband and five children, the youngest just under a year old when she left Nigeria, has been very difficult.
“Right now [my youngest] doesn’t really know who his mom is, and that is kind of hard for me. I can stay on the phone for hours, but I can’t touch them. It’s hard, it’s lonely, and it is quite challenging,” she said.
The idea of giving her children a brighter future helped keep her strong, she said. One of her sons wants to be an astronaut, which was impossible in Nigeria.
“Now I can look him in the face and say ‘Yes, you can be that thing you want to be,’” she said.
Earlier this year, Maxwell was issued permanent residency status in Canada through the Saskatchewan Immigration Nominee Program. In August, she returned to Africa for the first time in three years to fetch her family and bring them back to Canada.
They arrived in Saskatchewan on Saturday morning.
“I feel so excited. I can’t really describe my feelings right now. It’s actually a dream come true,” said Maxwell.
Her husband and children are delighted to be in what they call “the land of opportunity.”
“Seeing the huge welcome, smiles on people’s face, it tells me that this is the place, the land of opportunities. And this is the land where people say they are happy. Where people come and get their dreams fulfilled,” Joy’s husband Opara told CTV Regina.
“I’m so excited, I’m very happy,” added one of Maxwell’s daughters.
The family will settle in Lanigan, Sask.