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Francophone immigrants feel welcome in Moncton
New Brunswick's bilingualism helps attract immigrants from French-speaking, African nations to places like the University of Moncton.
The three French-African immigrants -- Mamadou Oury Diallo, Anthony Yameogo, and Olivier Hussein -- each have a story about how they arrived in the Hub City.
“I was very happy because I feel myself, as a Francophone, to live here and see other Francophones live here too,” said Olivier Hussein, who hails from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Mamadou Oury Diallo arrived in Canada from Guinea two years ago. He wears his flag around his neck with pride.
He enjoys using his native tongue to get a sense of home here, but not the weather.
“Two years ago, it was my first winter and I came outside and said ‘oh, what's that?’” Oury Diallo said.
On Thursday, the three young students were reflecting on their experience so far in Canada as they celebrated the last day of Black History Month in their new home.
“Just to remember what the black people have done here for Canada,” said Hussein.
Yameogo, who is from Burkina Faso, admires how African-Canadians worked to overcome racism.
“It was not easy,” said Yameogo. “Very difficult for people here to sit with white people.”
The men say although racism is still very real in Canada and other countries, it's not something they've ever had to face in Moncton.
“I think the people in Moncton are so kind,” said Oury Diallo. “They smile to everyone and that was a great thing I noticed when I came to Moncton.”
Hussein, who came here 10 years ago from the Republic of the Congo, says being Francophone has opened a lot of doors for him in a bilingual city like Moncton.
And he's optimistic about the future.
“Someday, we could have a black prime minister,” Hussein says. “Who knows?”
For now, they'll cherish their roots in a place that feels like home -- away from home.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker.